For the Birds Radio Program
Buying Binoculars, Part II
(Dec. 10, 2008)
Laura talks about several elements of binoculars that are important in making a final choice.
- Buying Binoculars, Part I (Dec. 9, 2008)
What considerations do we take into account when looking for affordable binoculars? WIth inexpensive glass and coatings, lower power can be a better buy.
- Our Birds in the Tropics (Dec. 8, 2008)
On frigid, gray days of winter, Laura likes to envision our summer birds in the tropics.
- Kasey the Cat's Big Screen TV (Dec. 1, 2008)
Laura’s cat Kasey has a great entertainment center in the form of the windows onto Laura’s bird feeders.
- Snowy Owls (Nov. 24, 2008)
The bird second only to the Adelie Penguin in the thermal conductance of its feathers is a fairly diurnal owl.
- Twin Beaks (Nov. 19, 2008)
Laura’s started a new blog, Twin Beaks (twinbeaks.lauraerickson.com) to inject some humor into a time when good humor is hard to come by.
- The Evolution of Feathers (Nov. 18, 2008)
In honor of the upcoming anniversary of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday,
- Squirrels (Nov. 17, 2008)
Squirrels visiting Laura’s balcony feeders prompted her to research squirrels, and how they, and birds, respond to chili peppers.
- Rare Birds Here and There (Nov. 6, 2008)
Laura talks about recent rarities turning up in Ithaca, Duluth, and Chicago.
- Close Encounter of the Eagle Kind (Nov. 4, 2008)
Eagles have developed a taste for venison, which led to Lisa Johnson having a close encounter.
- Fall Red-winged Blackbirds (Nov. 3, 2008)
Laura’s friend Jan Kraemer asks why Red-wings would be singing their song in the fall.
- Ruffed Grouse (Oct. 29, 2008)
Some people think it’s a bad idea to get seriously involved with a drummer, but for female Ruffed Grouse, there’s no alternative.
- October Robins (Oct. 24, 2008)
Ornithologists say that robins don’t sing in fall, but once in a while, we run into one that didn’t get that memo.
- American Goldfinch (Oct. 22, 2008)
Goldfinches are traveling incognito right now.
- Election 2008 (Oct. 9, 2008)
Every four years, in a cycle as regular as many natural rhythms, we Americans grow restless and cranky as we face yet another national election. Chickadees are working out their new flock hierarchy statuses right now, too, but they don’t seem nearly as irritable about it as we do.
- Feeding Birds on a Budget (Oct. 6, 2008)
How can we feed birds in the most affordable way without being pennywise and pound foolish?
- Katie's Bike Trip (Sept. 30, 2008)
Laura’s daughter Katie is biking from San Diego to Savannah, Georgia, and Laura considers herself far luckier than bird mothers, because she hears from Katie fairly regularly.
- Upland Sandpiper (Sept. 29, 2008)
An Upland Sandpiper alighted on the veranda of one of Laura’s friends. Where is it headed to?
- Late Summer Cedar Waxwings (Sept. 23, 2008)
Cedar Waxwings are everywhere in August, if you’re paying attention.
- Fall Bluebirds (Sept. 10, 2008)
Why is there a gap between seeing the last bluebirds in our nest boxes and flocks appearing in fruit trees?
- Grief (Sept. 9, 2008)
After a grievous loss, birds remind us that we’re not alone.
- Problem Bees and Wasps (Aug. 21, 2008)
What do you do when bees or wasps are taking over your hummingbird feeders? Laura found one novel approach with a vacuum cleaner, and one of her friends found an even more novel approach.Duration: 4′10″ Related blog post with transcript
- August: the Grunge Month (Aug. 18, 2008)
Birds look their grungiest in August, but it’s still a great time to go searching for them.
- Peterson's Penguins (Aug. 15, 2008)
Laura talks about Roger Tory Peterson’s favorite birds.
- A Letter from Roger Tory Peterson (Aug. 14, 2008)
Laura wrote a letter to Roger Tory Peterson in 1987, and received a charming response.Duration: 3′28″ Related blog post with transcript
- Peterson's Flickers (Aug. 13, 2008)
Roger Tory Peterson’s interest in birds was sparked when he came upon a seemingly dead flicker that suddenly burst into life.
- Book Review: the New Peterson Guide (Aug. 12, 2008)
In honor of his centennial, Houghton Mifflin just released the newest edition of A Field Guide to Birds. This issue combines both the eastern and western versions of previous guides.
- Roger Tory Peterson Centennial (Aug. 11, 2008)
This month will mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Roger Tory Peterson. Laura talks about his life today.
- Grassland Birds: Grazing vs. Mowing (Aug. 1, 2008)
Laura heard from a farmer with some helpful information about how farmers can manage their land for grassland birds.
- Gray Catbird (July 29, 2008)
Summer is the best time to spend time with Gray Catbirds.
- Education (July 28, 2008)
Laura talks about all the things baby birds must learn before they can be independent. Pop quizzes for them have far direr consequences than for human students.
- Bluebirds and Botflies (July 24, 2008)
Laura talks about some of the problems facing bluebirds, especially the scourge of botflies.
- Indigo Buntings (July 22, 2008)
Many birds have quieted for the season, but one is still singing persistently.
- Ludwig the Blue Jay (July 16, 2008)
Laura tells about a baby Blue Jay she raised, and how he taught her that birds are more intelligent than people generally believe.
- Goose Poop (July 14, 2008)
Laura made it into the New York Times! She was quoted about…goose poop!
- My Ithaca Balcony (July 11, 2008)
Living in the woods has enormous pleasures.
- Book Review: Birdwatcher by Elizabeth J. Rosenthal (July 7, 2008)
Roger Tory Peterson was perhaps the premier birder of America in his generation. As his centennial approaches, a few biographies have been released. Laura’s favorite is Birdwatcher, which gives a more rounded look at Peterson’s life.
- Archimedes, Part II (July 3, 2008)
It takes a village to care for an education screech owl.
- Archimedes, Part I (July 2, 2008)
Laura has been living with an Eastern Screech Owl since 2000. How did this come about?
- Emily's Eagle, Part II (July 1, 2008)
A sad ending to the story of the 18-year-old Bald Eagle rescued by Emily Buchanan.
- Chuck and Sue the Robins, Part II (June 27, 2008)
Laura talks about the robins nesting in the eaves in her Ithaca apartment.Duration: 4′39″ Related blog post with transcript
- Emily's Eagle, Part I (June 16, 2008)
Emily Buchanan, a rehabber in Duluth, rescued a banded Bald Eagle that turned out to be 18 years old with an interesting history.
- Veery (June 10, 2008)
How do Veeries fit in with popular culture?
- Turkey Vultures (June 9, 2008)
Turkey Vultures may not be the most attractive birds, but their scavenging ways make the world a better place.
- Dawn Chorus (June 6, 2008)
The dawn chorus is an ephemeral event. The lazy woman’s way to enjoy it is to get up at 4, start a microphone, and go back to bed.
- Great Crested Flycatcher (June 5, 2008)
Laura’s been listening to the dawn chorus in her neighborhood. Some start before daybreak, but Great Crested Flycatchers prefer to sleep in.
- Yellow-throated Vireo (June 2, 2008)
One fairly obscure little bird made a big impression during Laura’s daily walks.
- Save Gas to Save Birds (May 29, 2008)
No matter why we try to economize on gas, we’ll help birds. Laura explains why, and suggests ways we can improve our gas mileage.
- Chuck and Sue the Robins, Part I (May 27, 2008)
Laura is thrilled to have a pair of robins nesting right outside her door. Her neighbor? Not so much.
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak (May 12, 2008)
Male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have dramatically different plumages, but they both incubate eggs and brood chicks, and both sing! Learn more about this striking feeder bird.
- Fun Morning in Sapsucker Woods (May 7, 2008)
Laura brought a group of new birders on a field trip in Sapsucker Woods, where they saw lots of interesting birds.
- Migrating through Cities (May 1, 2008)
Millions of birds flying from the tropics to the north woods find themselves flying above cities en route. How can we make their passage safer?
- Pat Farrell's Mother's House Wrens (April 25, 2008)
Laura tells a heartwarming story from a listener.
- Book Review: Bill Thompson's Young Birders' Guide (April 24, 2008)
Laura likes this book as a very basic introduction.
- Field Sparrow (April 23, 2008)
When Laura took ornithology in college, she was supposed to be studying one sparrow but learned a lot about another.
- Bluebird Boxes (April 22, 2008)
Laura talks about setting out boxes for bluebirds
- Eastern Bluebird (2008) (April 21, 2008)
Thoreau’s bird, carrying the sky on his back, carries spring to us.
- Book Review: Kroodsma's Backyard Birdsong Guide (April 10, 2008)
For the cost of four or five good cups of mocha, Don Kroodsma’s book shows us how to wake up with a lovelier jolt than caffeine, to a glorious world that has always been all around us and that is ours forever if only we open our ears and drink it in.
- Hooded Merganser (April 3, 2008)
Twitterpated Hooded Mergansers are displaying right now.
- Bird Houses and People Houses (April 2, 2008)
Bird and human housing should be built up to code, with safety and energy savings in mind.
- Robins (April 1, 2008)
The reappearance of robins every spring is as regular as clockwork, even if they’ve been around all winter. And their behavior once they get into nesting mode is also predictable.
- Minimum Daily Requirement of Birds (March 28, 2008)
Laura’s friend Rob Fergus believes that seeing a minimum of 20 different birds a day will make us healthier and happier.Duration: 3′41″ Related blog post with transcript
- Golden-crowned Kinglet (March 27, 2008)
One of the first birds to return in spring is our tiniest songbird of all.
- Contentment (March 24, 2008)
Living on her own away from her family, Laura muses about what it takes to feel truly content.
- Anticipating Woodcocks (March 21, 2008)
Laura can’t wait to hear woodcocks dancing.
- Experiencing Nature in Real Life (March 10, 2008)
Laura was taken to task by listeners who thought it was reasonable that a teacher would answer “I don’t know” when a student asked if a swan was a bird.
- Signs of Spring (Early Spring 2008) (March 7, 2008)
Early spring birds have to deal with the vagaries of weather.
- Baker Woodlot Then and Now (March 4, 2008)
Laura saw her very first chickadee, the number one bird on her lifelist, in Baker Woodlot on the Michigan State University campus on March 2, 1975. This year she went back.
- Mourning Dove Hunting Season in Minnesota (Feb. 28, 2008)
Laura thinks that Minnesota should not have a hunting season on doves or, if we do, should make some serious changes in the rules for it, including closing the season in the forested north, particularly along the hawk flyway while kestrels are migrating, and prohibit shooting them with lead shot.
- Respiration (Feb. 27, 2008)
How can birds be active at the top of Mount Everest?
- Bird Bodies (Feb. 26, 2008)
It’s quite possible for educated people to go through life not realizing a swan or a gull is a bird.
- Canada Geese in Winter (Feb. 25, 2008)
How can geese possibly be safe or comfortable standing on ice in their bare feet?
- Bucket List (Feb. 15, 2008)
Planning to see exotic birds can be a wonderful part of a bucket list, but so can savoring things right at home.
- Bald Eagle "Rebirth" (Feb. 11, 2008)
Laura is endlessly frustrated by the stupid things people believe about birds. (This was redone in November 2017, because people are still repeating this falsehood.)
- The Great Backyard Bird Count 2008 (Feb. 1, 2008)
An annual tradition is easy, fun, and very worthwhile.
- Willow Ptarmigan (Jan. 31, 2008)
The bird making one of the weirdest sounds in the universe happens to be Alaska’s state bird–the very first species that the wolf pup White Fang hunted all by himself.
- Mourning Dove (Jan. 30, 2008)
Those hooo–hoooos that people hear by day are not owls!
- Mark's Warbler Stories (Jan. 29, 2008)
A listener from Maryland named Mark recounts some fun warbler stories.
- Keeping Track of Birds with a Bird Cam (Jan. 28, 2008)
Laura works from before sunrise until after sunset. How can see figure out what birds have been visiting her feeders?
- House Sparrow (Jan. 25, 2008)
The Artful Dodgers of the bird world are welcome in cities, but not so much in wilder areas.
- House Finches (Jan. 23, 2008)
Laura gets to see House Finches much more often in Ithaca than in Duluth.
- Internet Bird News (Jan. 21, 2008)
The Internet is a rich source of bird news, but Laura doesn’t have access from her apartment yet.
- White-breasted Nuthatch (Jan. 18, 2008)
Singing White-breasted Nuthatches are a sign of the coming spring.
- Peregrine Falcon vs. Great Horned Owl (Jan. 17, 2008)
A Great Horned Owl is nesting on a Peregrine Falcon nest box at the Oak Brook Power Plant in Wisconsin.
- Pileated Woodpecker (Jan. 15, 2008)
Laura’s seeing lots of Pileated Woodpeckers in Ithaca and in Duluth.
- Serendipity Owl (Jan. 11, 2008)
Sometimes when a situation isn’t working out well, a magical moment with a bird makes it all okay.
- Ithaca: New Yard List! (Jan. 10, 2008)
What’s Laura seeing in Ithaca as she starts her new yard list?
- Migrant Birder Adjusting to New Nest (Jan. 9, 2008)
Laura, Photon, and Kasey are adjusting to a new home, as migrating birds do when they arrive on a new territory.
- Sapsucker Woods (Jan. 4, 2008)
Now that Laura’s living in Ithaca, she’ll be spending a lot of time in Sapsucker Woods. She talks about its history and birds that she has and will see there.
- Tufted Titmouse (Jan. 3, 2008)
Now that Laura’s in Ithaca, she gets to enjoy a cool bird every day.
- Year List (Jan. 2, 2008)
Birders can start afresh every January 1.
- New Year 2008 (Jan. 1, 2008)
Today, Laura is starting a whole new chapter in her life.
- Buying Binoculars, Part I (Dec. 9, 2008)