For the Birds Radio Program
Mantises: too much of a good thing?
(July 31, 2017)
Sometimes it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason. At least for hummingbirds.Duration: 4′35″ Related blog post
- Cassia Crossbills: of pinecones and squirrels (July 28, 2017)
A brilliant ornithologist name Craig Benkman discovered some very important information about Red Crossbills, leading to a whole new species for science.Duration: 6′15″ Related blog post
- Divided We Fall (July 24, 2017)
When extremists on both sides of the political divide dig in their heels, it becomes impossible to work out reasonable compromises.
- Arm and Hammer bird trading cards, Part II (July 20, 2017)
Laura talks about some of the Arm and Hammer bird trading cards she was given by Don and Lynn Watson.
- Arm and Hammer bird trading cards, Part I (July 19, 2017)
Laura recently started looking into the old trading cards once found in boxes of Arm and Hammer baking soda.
- Extinctions (Birds in the News Redux) (July 17, 2017)
Laura reported back in 2004 that we were in the Sixth Mass Extinction. News from last week was reporting the same thing, but in the intervening years, we haven’t done a thing about it. The recording for the program, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, is of the now-extinct Bachman’s Warbler, recorded by G. Stuart Keith in South Carolina on 15 May 1959.
- The Captain of Our Soul (July 14, 2017)
Could a bird have written Invictus?Duration: 4′44″ Related blog post
- The Ancient Mariner Meets the Lord of the Flies (July 12, 2017)
When adolescent boys go on a murderous rampage against endangered seabirds, what’s the best way to deal with it?
- Taking a Giant Step Backwards on Lead (July 10, 2017)
Even as we’ve seen stunning examples of the dangers of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, our new Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, took a giant step backward by overturning a ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle in our national parks and national wildlife refuges.Duration: 4′36″ Related blog post
- Peabody Street's Year of the House Wren (July 6, 2017)
Three different pairs of House Wrens are nesting on Laura’s corner this year.Duration: 4′46″ Related blog post
- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Requires Clean Air and Water (July 4, 2017)
The most essential requirements for life itself are breathable air and drinkable water.Duration: 6′37″ Related blog post
- Thoughts about Chickadees on the Fourth of July (July 3, 2017)
Chickadees and their communities embody the very best that we human Americans can aspire to.Duration: 6′06″ Related blog post
- Review: Song Sleuth, the bird song identification app (June 30, 2017)
A new app says it “turns your iPhone or iPad into an automatic bird song identifier.” How well does it live up to that claim? Laura says not so well, for now.
- Review: Merlin, the Bird Identification App (June 29, 2017)
Laura reviews, and strongly recommends, “Merlin,” a bird identification app created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Where have all the insects gone? (June 27, 2017)
Mosquitoes and ticks are proliferating, but many insects are disappearing.
- Where Are the Tree Swallows? (June 26, 2017)
Tree Swallows never showed up at a lake north of Duluth this year. Where might they be?
- Of Bald and Toupee-Wearing Birds (June 22, 2017)
In summer, some birds—mostly cardinals and Blue Jays—appear to grow bald, while pelicans don a toupee. What’s going on?
- Laura's Sound Recording Equipment (June 20, 2017)
What equipment does Laura use for recording birds? And do you need such an expensive setup?
- Baby ducks and geese in creches or nurseries (June 19, 2017)
Why do mother geese and ducks sometimes end up with huge numbers of babies?
- The Evocative Power of Sound (June 16, 2017)
Laura finds sounds—natural and human—evocative and magical. Many of her natural sound recordings are now available on her website, all indexed by species.
- Review: National Geographic field guide, Seventh Edition (June 15, 2017)
Laura got a sneak peek preview of the forthcoming Seventh Edition of the National Geographic field guide.
- Recap: Spring Warbler Walks (June 1, 2017)
On Tuesday, Laura finished up the last of her Duluth Audubon Spring Warbler Walks.
- The World I Choose to Live In (May 25, 2017)
Sometimes all we need to restore our spirits is one lovely morning.
- Conclusion of 101 Ways to Help Birds (May 23, 2017)
Laura is adding the content of her book 101 Ways to Help Birds to her website. She’s more than 2/3 done, and is finding that the issues she wrote about are still problems, and most of the information she presented is still very timely.
- Slow Down! (May 22, 2017)
Last week Laura came upon a heartbreaking reminder why we should drive at the slowest speed that is safe, courteous, and convenient. (Listen carefully starting at 3:48, right when Laura mentions owls, to hear Archimedes, her education Eastern Screech-Owl, chime in softly in the background. His cage is near where Laura records, and he apparently listens to her!)Duration: 4′53″ Related blog post
- The Floodgates Open! (May 19, 2017)
Bird migration is suddenly hopping!Duration: 3′42″ Related blog post
- Spring Update: Separating the MMMMs from the DDDDs. (May 18, 2017)
There are two kinds of spring mornings in Duluth. Non-birders prefer the MMMMs (Magnificent Minnesota Mornings), but sensible birders like the DDDDs (Dull, dank, drizzly, drippy Duluth Days). Why are birders happier in grim weather?
- Lewis's Woodpecker in Port Wing! (May 17, 2017)
When Laura heard about a Lewis’s Woodpecker in Port Wing, Wisconsin, she grabbed her dog and hopped in the car. It was worth it!Duration: 4′47″ Related blog post
- 101 Ways to Help Birds is online! (May 16, 2017)
Laura Erickson is making the content of her book, 101 Ways to Help Bird available on her webpage.
- Unusually pale Song Sparrow (May 15, 2017)
An odd bird visited Laura’s feeder last week, and she’s been puzzling over how to describe it correctly, because the scientists don’t agree on the right words.
- Warbler Walk Update (May 10, 2017)
Spring migration is taking its sweet time, so Laura and participants of her spring warbler walks are savoring it.
- Helping Lesser Prairie-Chickens and the People Who Help Them (May 9, 2017)
Laura reminisces about some Lesser Prairie-Chickens she saw in 2013 and 2014, and talks about a prairie-chicken advocate who needs help after a devastating wildfire destroyed his photo blind and the very lek Laura photographed in 2014.Duration: 4′15″ Related blog post
- On the Shoulders of Giants (May 8, 2017)
Many scientists started looking seriously at the problem of bird-window collisions after Dr. Daniel Klem established that as many as a billion birds are killed at US windows every year. Dr. Klem’s painstaking research over almost four decades provides the underpinnings of all the research going on today.
- Vulnerable Waterfront Birds (May 3, 2017)
Birds that can survive only near water can be seriously jeopardized by selfish people.
- Worst-Case Scenarios (April 26, 2017)
Expecting the worst to happen can be very unrealistic, as a family of Great Blue Herons taught Laura
- Life Giving Experiences (April 24, 2017)
Time spent with birds can be truly “life giving,” as Douglas Wayne Gray told Laura.
- National Poetry Month: Birdsong (April 20, 2017)
For National Poetry Month, Laura highlights a new book, Birdsong: poems in celebration of birds, with a reading by P. A. Pashibin of her contribution to the book, “Waiting for Fox.”
- Listener Observations (April 17, 2017)
Laura reads from some recent letters from listeners about Evening Grosbeaks and American Robins.
- New Chickadee Nest on Peabody Street! (April 10, 2017)
Chickadees are starting to build a nest in Laura’s neighbor’s yard—she’ll keep us up to date on what’s happening.
- A Walk at Park Point (April 7, 2017)
Laura’s first warbler walk on Park Point didn’t have a single warbler, and only 15 bird species total, but she still had a great time.
- Unexpected Trip to Chicago (April 6, 2017)
Laura took a fun, unexpected trip to Chicago last weekend, and was rewarded with an unexpected and really cool bird .Duration: 4′29″ Related blog post
- First Warbler Walk of the year (April 5, 2017)
Every Tuesday and Thursday in April and May, Laura leads warbler walks for Duluth Audubon Society. What did they see the first day out?
- Where Are the Birds? Part 2 (March 28, 2017)
Laura talks about how we measure bird declines and why it’s so difficult to pinpoint why birds disappear at a particular feeding station. She also asks listeners in the Rhinelander, Wisconsin, area to let her know how their backyard feeding went this year.
- Where Are the Birds? Part I (March 27, 2017)
A WXPR listener has had very few birds at his feeder this year, and asks Laura if he should continue bird feeding.
- Chandler Robbins (March 24, 2017)
Of all the birding and ornithology figures Laura has ever known, her greatest hero, as an ornithologist, a conservationist, and a human being, is Chandler Robbins. He died on March 20.
Laura’s longer remembrance of him is on her blog.
- A Question of Balance (March 20, 2017)
Laura just discovered, after all these years, that the sound balance of her programs is off–she makes the birds louder than they should be relative to her voice. She is trying to make this better.
- 15,354 days and counting (March 15, 2017)
As of today, Laura has been a birder for 15,354 days. How many chickadees has she seen in that time?Duration: 4′48″ Related blog post
- Thomas Spence's beautiful, pale Pine Siskin (March 10, 2017)
Last week, Laura heard from a WTIP listener who has been seeing an extremely pale Pine Siskin.Duration: 4′23″ Related blog post
- Rescinding the Ban on Lead Ammo (March 6, 2017)
The long-awaited ban on using toxic ammo or fishing tackle on any National Wildlife Refuge, just enacted last year, was rescinded last week.
- After Surgery (March 3, 2017)
Laura came out of surgery just fine, thinking about chickadees and bird breast muscles.Duration: 4′32″ Related blog post
- 42: The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything (March 2, 2017)
Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Laura’s first outing as a birdwatcher.
- Moseying through the Bog (Feb. 27, 2017)
On Saturday, Laura, her friend Lisa, and her little birding dog Pip took a leisurely trip through the Sax-Zim Bog.Duration: 4′42″ Related blog post
- High Plains Snow Goose Festival (Feb. 24, 2017)
Laura spent a February weekend in Lamar, Colorado, at the High Plains Snow Goose Festival.
- Cats (Feb. 17, 2017)
What can we do about outdoor cats killing birds?
- Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Two Harbors (Feb. 15, 2017)
What’s a Eurasian Tree Sparrow doing hanging around the Do North Pizzeria in Two Harbors, Minnesota?Duration: 4′37″ Related blog post
- Dealing with Uncertainties (Feb. 10, 2017)
Chickadees are helping Laura deal with some very disconcerting news: a breast cancer diagnosis.Duration: 5′30″ Related blog post
- Ruffed Grouse (Feb. 9, 2017)
Interesting winter adaptations make a Ruffed Grouse up a tree an arresting sight.Duration: 5′02″ Related blog post
- February Romance (Feb. 8, 2017)
Laura talks about three species that mate for life, and their February courtship rituals.
- Superb Owl Sunday (Feb. 7, 2017)
On the first Sunday of February, when many Americans focus on guacamole and flying pigskins, Laura celebrates Superb Owl Sunday.Duration: 4′33″ Related blog post
- Twice as Many Species (Feb. 3, 2017)
Some scientists believe that there are about 18,000 bird species in the world–not just 10,000 as currently understood.Duration: 5′17″ Related blog post
- More about that Pink-footed Goose (Jan. 30, 2017)
Laura responds to a couple of questions about the Pink-footed Goose she talked about last week.Duration: 4′25″ Related blog post
- Pink-capped Marchers (Jan. 24, 2017)
Laura went from seeing a Pink-footed Goose on Friday to marching with a host of pink-capped members of another species on Saturday.Duration: 4′54″ Related blog post
- How I spent January 20, 2017 (Jan. 23, 2017)
Laura was in New York City on a wild goose chase on Friday.Duration: 5′06″ Related blog post
- Wealth in the New Gilded Age (Jan. 18, 2017)
What makes us truly rich? Laura finds hope in birds and the Chicago Cubs, remembering that last time they won a World Series, Teddy Roosevelt was putting an end to another Gilded Age.
- Cassia Crossbills: of pinecones and squirrels (July 28, 2017)