For the Birds Radio Program
Owls and Fences
(Dec. 20, 2010)
One surprising cause of mortality for owls is fences.Duration: 4′18″ Related blog post with transcript
- Lead: Still a Threat (Dec. 16, 2010)
People have known for millennia how toxic lead is, but hunters are still defending its use. Why?
- Remembering Mary Tonkin: The John Chickenfat Sled Bird Race (Dec. 14, 2010)
Laura’s treasured friend and neighbor died earlier this year. Mary Tonkin performed the role of Jamie Honker, the top sled bird racer in North America, in one of Laura’s April Fools programs, so Laura repeats that program in honor of her.
- Dirty Socks (Dec. 8, 2010)
Laura has a permanetly stained pair of socks that she treasures. What do they remind her of?Duration: 5′00″ Related blog post with transcript
- House Finch (Dec. 7, 2010)
Laura talks about House Finches–their natural history and how to distinguish them from Purple Finches
- Tapeworms Part II (Dec. 3, 2010)
When Laura sent Dave Barry a tapeworm that came from a nighthawk, he put it into his annual holiday gift guide.Duration: 4′06″ Related blog post with transcript
- Tapeworm Part I (Dec. 2, 2010)
In 1993, Laura began a correspondence with Dave Barry, much about tapeworms.
- Dave Barry on Homeowner's Insurance (Part I of a series) (Dec. 1, 2010)
When some of Laura’s friends discovered serious damage to their home from a Barred Owl, Dave Barry had a suggestion about dealing with the insurance adjustors.Duration: 4′34″ Related blog post with transcript
- How to Choose a Field Guide (Nov. 29, 2010)
What’s the best way to choose a field guide? Laura recommends heading to a library or bookstore, thumbing through the ones that look most appealing, and looking up a few familiar birds in your favorites. The book that shows those birds the way you see them is probably the best choice for you.
- Winter Bird Movements (Nov. 23, 2010)
Migration isn’t over even during winter.
- Stories from the Archives: For the Birds Retrospective (Nov. 18, 2010)
In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of For the Birds, Laura talks about her very brief correspondences with Garry Trudeau, Charles Schulz, and Roger Tory Peterson.Duration: 3′55″ Related blog post with transcript
- DDT and California Condors, 2010 (Nov. 17, 2010)
In 1986 when Laura started producing For the Birds, she was wrongly pessimistic about the disappearance of California Condors, and wrongly optimistic about the disappearance of DDT from the environment.Duration: 4′59″ Related blog post with transcript
- Evening Grosbeak, 2010 (Nov. 16, 2010)
What happened to this once-abundant bird?
- Birthday 2010 (Nov. 11, 2010)
Bad news is weighing on Laura Erickson on her 59th birthday.
- Turning 59 (Nov. 10, 2010)
There’s a lot to be said for turning 59.
- Lead, Part II (Nov. 9, 2010)
The exact same week that the EPA declared “National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week” was when they denied a petition to ban lead fishing sinkers that frequently kill loons, swans, cranes and other wildlife.Duration: 6′18″ Related blog post with transcript
- Lead, Part I (Nov. 8, 2010)
Laura talks about human uses for lead throughout history, and how our understanding of its toxicity have grown over time, despite the EPA’s ruling that it doesn’t pose a danger to wildlife.
- Bald Eagle (Oct. 28, 2010)
Bald Eagles are one of the things we can count on in October, no matter what the weather.
- October Storm (Oct. 27, 2010)
Unprecedented storms can be hard on birds
- Fox Sparrows (Oct. 25, 2010)
Laura talks about the Fox Sparrows visiting her mother-in-law’s feeders in Port Wing, Wisconsin, along with a bit of interesting history about the species.Duration: 4′48″ Related blog post with transcript
- Jaegers (Oct. 18, 2010)
The Ides of October is the right day to get out and look for jaegers.
- Chance Encounter with a Snow Bunting (Oct. 14, 2010)
In 2010, Laura spent time with a Snow Bunting in Port Wing, WisconsinDuration: 5′48″ Related blog post with transcript
- Bird Feeding Primer (Oct. 13, 2010)
Laura talks about basic rules to make bird feeding fun for you and healthy for birds.Duration: 4′56″ Related blog post with transcript
- Evolution (Oct. 12, 2010)
“Survival of the fittest” doesn’t only refer to battles to the death.
- Birds Observing 10-10-10 (Oct. 11, 2010)
Lots to celebrate despite the news!
- Beautiful Fall (Oct. 8, 2010)
Beautiful birds and beautiful colors mark this perfect autumn.
- Photography, Part II (Oct. 6, 2010)
Laura talks about how she organizes thousands of photos, using Adobe Lightroom.
- Photography, Part I (Oct. 5, 2010)
Laura talks about how she learned photography using film cameras and made the transition to digital.
- Harris's Sparrow (Sept. 28, 2010)
Laura talks about a lovely bird visiting feeders in late September and early October, and about some of its history.Duration: 4′51″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill: Gulf Update (Sept. 22, 2010)
The oil was not magically raptured up, but the damage from the oil spill is still being hidden from public view.
- A Perfect Day (Sept. 14, 2010)
Laura spent a perfect day at Hawk Ridge.
- Blue Jays of Fall 2010 (Sept. 9, 2010)
“It’s scary growing so fond of these birds, who face so much danger, and who most assuredly do not return my affection. But every now and then one peeks at me through the window. Life is beautiful, and my Blue Jays are smart and wary and wonderful, just as they should be.”
- Last Hummingbirds of the Season (Sept. 7, 2010)
Laura explains why she keeps her feeders out after Labor Day.
- Minnesota Power to Install Flight Diverters to Protect Whooping Cranes (Sept. 6, 2010)
Minnesota Power will be installing flight diverters to protect flying cranes on their power lines along a 44-mile stretch between the Bison Wind project near New Salem, North Dakota, and a transmission center near Center, North Dakota.
- A Happenin' Place (Aug. 30, 2010)
Laura’s window, looking out onto Russ’s cherry trees and several other nice trees, is filled with action right now.
- BP Oil Spill: Oiled Northern Gannets (Aug. 19, 2010)
Why are so many Northern Gannets being oiled in the Gulf? Don’t ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representative.
- Habitat Here Festival (Aug. 18, 2010)
The Arrowhead chapter of Wild Ones, a national non-profit that promotes sustainable landscaping using native plant communities to provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, will be putting on a Habitat Here festival at Hartley Nature Center in Duluth. The festival will feature garden tours, information about invasive species, a native plant sale, kids’ activities, and a talk by Ron Bowen, the president and founder of Prairie Restorations, speaking about “native landscaping at home.” Laura will also be giving a presentation, focused specifically on enhancing habitat for chickadees.
- BP Oil Spill: Conversation with Dr. Paul McKay, Part III (Aug. 12, 2010)
Laura talks with physical oceanographer Paul McKay about the causes of land loss in Louisiana’s Mississippi Delta.
- BP Oil Spill: Conversation with Dr. Paul McKay, Part II (Aug. 11, 2010)
Laura talks with physical oceanographer about the importance of blue crabs to the Gulf ecosystem.
- BP Oil Spill: Conversation with Dr. Paul McKay, Part I (Aug. 10, 2010)
Laura and physical oceanographer Paul McKay talk about how oil acts on sand and water.
- BP Oil Spill: When Numbers Get Serious (Aug. 4, 2010)
How many birds have been oiled in the BP oil spill? The official number is a vast misrepresentation of reality.Duration: 5′05″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill: Dispersants: Our Most Dangerous Experiment (Aug. 3, 2010)
Using dispersants may have made some of the effects of the oil spill even more dangerous even as they were less visible.Duration: 5′07″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill: Live from KUMD (Aug. 2, 2010)
Lisa Johnson interviews Laura from the Gulf.
- BP Oil Spill: First Impressions (July 29, 2010)
What are Laura’s first impressions of the Gulf disaster, now that she can see it first hand?
- BP Oil Spill: Live from KUMD (July 28, 2010)
Laura is in New Orleans, and Lisa Johnson interviews her live.
- BP Oil Spill: I'm Heading Out (July 23, 2010)
Laura’s on her way to the Gulf.
- BP Oil Spill: Dispersants (July 22, 2010)
How safe are the dispersants being poured into the Gulf?
- BP Oil Spill: Sigh of Relief (July 20, 2010)
Reports that the gushing oil well has been capped are good news. But it’s too early to be breathing a sigh of relief.
- BP Oil Spill: Gulf Coast, Here I Come! (July 13, 2010)
Laura’s is headed to the Gulf to document what she can. She’s hoping against hope to prove that we Americans have not become apathetic and helpless under corporate rule the way the Soviet people became under their totalitarian regime, and that with sound information, people are willing to rise to this occasion and save our imperiled natural world as we did in the 70s.
- Declining Numbers (July 12, 2010)
Laura talks about various causes for declining numbers of birds, and how hard it is to quantify what has been lost.
- Wood Ticks (July 9, 2010)
Laura talks about wood ticks and the birds and mammals that host them.
- BP Oil Spill: Loons in the Gulf (June 24, 2010)
A great many of our loons winter in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil is still gushing.
- Cedar Waxwing (June 23, 2010)
Sleek fruit-eating waxwings are surprisingly interested in sharing when it comes to food, and even nesting materials.
- Brown Pelican (June 18, 2010)
Brown Pelicans are one of the greatest successes of the Endangered Species Act.
- Trip down Memory Lane: Savannah (June 16, 2010)
Laura retraced some of her steps from her first year of birding, when she went to Savannah, Georgia.
- BP Oil Spill, Part V: Why Save Pelicans? (June 14, 2010)
“To passively allow the light in a pelican’s eyes to be extinguished when a person has the expertise and passion to help it goes against the grain of our very humanity. And without that, we ourselves are not worth saving.”Duration: 4′57″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill, Part IV: These Honored Dead (June 11, 2010)
If corporations are held to be people, why aren’t they punished like people when they kill human beings and wildlife?Duration: 5′54″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill, Part III: Assessing the Damage (June 9, 2010)
We will never know how many birds and other animals were killed in this disaster, and that’s just the way BP wants it.Duration: 5′21″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill, Part II: Birds Die Slowly (June 8, 2010)
Scientists know a lot about how long it takes for birds to die. In the Gulf right now, these slow deaths are not merciful.Duration: 5′37″ Related blog post with transcript
- BP Oil Spill, Part I: A Predictable Disaster (June 7, 2010)
The oil hemorrhaging from the Deepwater Horizon rig was a predictable disasterDuration: 6′16″ Related blog post with transcript
- Learning Natural Sounds (May 18, 2010)
How did Laura learn bird sounds, and what tips does she have for beginners?
- Warblers (May 17, 2010)
When Laura was a child, she thought warblers were the angels of canaries that had died saving the lives of miners. She knows better now, or does she?
- KUMD--Live Interview with Lisa Johnson (April 30, 2010)
Laura’s back from Ithaca, and Lisa talks to her in the studio.
- Tree Swallow (April 9, 2010)
Tree Swallows are literally gutsy birds–their relatively long intestines allow to digest more kinds of food than other swallows, so they can feed on berries if it gets too cold for insects, but harsh springs still take a toll.
- April 1: Chickadee Ghost Pirate (April 1, 2010)
Are Chickadee Ghost Pirates terrorizing northlanders? Duluth’s Mayor Don Ness categorically denies it, but the evidence is mounting.
- Chickadee Color (March 2, 2010)
To our undiscerning human eyes, chickadees seem to be black and white and gray, but they are far more colorful to other chickadees, who can see ultraviolet light.
- Investing in Vacations (Feb. 24, 2010)
When the New York Times wellness blog discussed a Dutch study that indicated that the biggest happiness associated with a vacation comes from the planning and that happiness from the vacation didn’t last long after the trip, it didn’t ring true–at least not for birding vacations.
- First Robin of Spring (Feb. 23, 2010)
How do you tell the first robin of spring from the last robin of winter?
- Masked Duck (Feb. 16, 2010)
Laura got a splendid lifer in Florida: a Masked Duck
- Painted Bunting (Feb. 15, 2010)
Laura spent time with one of the most beautiful birds in the world.
- Raven color (Jan. 26, 2010)
Why are ravens black? Various cultures have answered that question in different ways.
- Nasal Leeches (Jan. 25, 2010)
Yuck! Laura just discovered how many waterbirds have leeches invading their eyes nasal passages.
- Athletic teams named for birds (Jan. 12, 2010)
Laura talks about teams named for birds, and how appropriate or inappropriate those names might be.
- Lead: Still a Threat (Dec. 16, 2010)