For the Birds Radio Program
Tufted Duck in Duluth!
(Dec. 19, 2018)
Last week a Tufted Duck showed up in Canal Park in Duluth, and it stuck around for the Christmas Bird Count. The question now is whether the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union’s Records Committee will call it “countable” or not.
- Rats! (Dec. 12, 2018)
Rats are suddenly appearing on Peabody Street.
- Helen Erickson, 1919-2018 (Dec. 10, 2018)
On Saturday, Laura’s mother-in-law, who gave Laura her first pair of binoculars, passed away.Duration: 8′12″ Related blog post with transcript
- Return of the Pileated Woodpecker (Dec. 4, 2018)
Laura’s female Pileated Woodpecker, the one attacked by a Sharp-shinned Hawk last week, returned on Saturday, much to the relief of a lot of people.Duration: 5′21″ Related blog post with transcript
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Raven with a Gift from Above (Nov. 30, 2018)
Laura’s long ago close encounter with a raven still leaves her gobsmacked.
- Drama on Peabody Street (Nov. 29, 2018)
When a hawk started attacking Laura’s female Pileated Woodpecker, Laura took sides.
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Yesterday's Pileated Woodpecker (Nov. 20, 2018)
Pileated Woodpeckers have featured in several of “Laura’s Best Bird EVER!” accounts. And just yesterday a new one made the cut.
If you’re playing this on the air, tell listeners that all the photos mentioned are shown on today’s blog post.Duration: 5′28″ Related blog post with transcript
- Our Far-Flung Correspondents: Brita and Odin, and Their Mom, Sarah (Nov. 16, 2018)
Laura has been corresponding with a longstanding listener, hearing about her delightful bird-appreciating children.
- Pine Grosbeak: My Once-Upon-a-Dream Bird (Nov. 15, 2018)
For one brief, shining moment, a wild bird made Laura Erickson feel like she was in the middle of a Disney fairy tale.Duration: 4′44″ Related blog post with transcript
- Disney's Sleeping Beauty and a Real-Life Owl (Nov. 14, 2018)
Laura loved Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty as a child, but real life is better than even the prettiest fairy tale.
- In My Prime (Nov. 12, 2018)
What’s so special about being 67? And is the answer the same if you’re a human rather than an albatross?Duration: 4′42″ Related blog post with transcript
- Transitions (Nov. 8, 2018)
Birdlife is changing in Laura’s yard, and suddenly there’s a goshawk hanging around.
- Mandarin Duck in the Big Apple (Nov. 5, 2018)
Laura is thrilled about a Mandarin Duck that appeared last month in New York City and is still swimming in the Pond in Central Park.Duration: 5′29″ Related blog post with transcript
- Acting for our children's future (Political content) (Oct. 30, 2018)
When our country is facing environmental and social disasters, Laura always thinks of Mr. Rogers. Today she’s also thinking about Captain Sully Sullenberger and the meaning of leadership.
This radio program includes political content. If listeners object, I would love to hear exactly what their specific arguments are. To sin by silence when one should speak makes cowards of men, and now is a time when we should be standing together and speaking up.
The linked blog post is considerably longer.
- Lark Bunting in Duluth (Oct. 26, 2018)
Laura saw a cool vagrant this week, a Lark Bunting.
- Gone with the Wind (Oct. 23, 2018)
Laura’s Yellow-rumped Warblers have finally departed, leaving her wondering how their migration timing relates to leaf color changes and when leaves fall from the trees.Duration: 4′15″ Related blog post with transcript
- Yellow-rumped Warblers (Oct. 18, 2018)
Laura was still getting lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers in her yard and at her feeders as late as October 17!
- Drunken Birds: Final Recap (Oct. 11, 2018)
Since last she mentioned drunken birds last week, Laura has been interviewed by CNN and The New York Times. She’s hoping this will be the end of the story.
- How Lisa Found Childlike Delight through Photography (Oct. 9, 2018)
Laura’s friend Lisa Johnson of KUMD had to respond to a recent For the Birds.
- Sober Up! (Oct. 5, 2018)
A billion birds die in window collisions every year, and a great many are killed by cars, especially during migration. Now suddenly people are blaming bird deaths on their own drunkenness, which is a grave disservice based on misinformation.
- Not So Very Drunk (Oct. 4, 2018)
Laura hates when reporters want one angle on a story and don’t let go in the face of facts. Especially when they stick her name on the story. Are people really seeing drunken birds in northern Minnesota this week?Duration: 4′40″ Related blog post with transcript
- Live from KUMD (Oct. 1, 2018)
Lisa Johnson interviewed Laura about migration today. All Laura’s “um”s will make it clear why her podcasts are usually scripted.
- Charles M. Schulz Museum Writes to Laura about Woodstock! (Sept. 26, 2018)
Laura got an unexpected letter yesterday about a letter exchange she’d had with Charles Schulz in the 1990s.
- Susan's Favorite Bird: Carolina Wren (Sept. 12, 2018)
Laura’s good friend Susan Eaton shared her favorite bird, the Carolina Wren.
- How Are This Year's Fires Affecting Nighthawks? (Sept. 3, 2018)
When listener Will Bomier asked Laura how this year’s fires are affecting Common Nighthawks, she started looking into it.Duration: 6′19″ Related blog post with transcript
- Fiftieth Anniversary! (Aug. 30, 2018)
Laura started dating her husband Russ exactly 50 years ago today, making her think of geese, albatrosses, and warblers.
- Book Review: The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Aug. 27, 2018)
Laura gives this book her highest rating.Duration: 5′26″ Related blog post with transcript
- Bird Photography (Aug. 16, 2018)
Laura has a few hints for people who love watching birds and want to take some pictures of them.
- Of Weddings and Baseball (Aug. 13, 2018)
Laura took time off to help her daughter get married and to watch Cubs rookie David Bote hit a walk-off grand slam home run.
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ Le Conte's Sparrow: the Tiny Ahab (July 11, 2018)
Laura’s first look at a bird being banded called to her mind a great American classic.
- Across the Universe (July 10, 2018)
Is there intelligent life “out there”? Laura says not to feel alone; notice the intelligent life right here on Planet Earth.
- Listener Favorite: Amelia's Cardinal (June 29, 2018)
One of Laura’s listeners loves whistling back and forth with the young cardinals in her backyard. Can this teach them the wrong songs?Duration: 5′12″ Related blog post with transcript
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ Geppetto, Part 2 (June 28, 2018)
Laura picks up the story of Geppetto as she and her kids brought him to Camp Du Nord to release him.Duration: 4′22″ Related blog post with transcript
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ Geppetto, Part I (June 27, 2018)
In 1998, Laura and her kids rehabilitated a baby Pileated Woodpecker.Duration: 3′53″ Related blog post with transcript
- June Hike (June 25, 2018)
Laura was a leader on a hike along the Superior Hiking Trail this weekend, and heard lots of cool birds.Duration: 5′02″ Related blog post with transcript
- A History of the Boundary Waters (June 22, 2018)
Laura talks about this history of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. This program doesn’t have the announcement of events tomorrow in Grand Marais.Duration: 5′24″ Related blog post with transcript
- For the Babies (Strong political viewpoint expressed) (June 20, 2018)
Laura’s backyard vireos fought off a menace to their nestlings yesterday, making Laura think of how most of us feel a visceral empathy toward babies in distress, distinguishing empathetic human beings from sociopaths.
- Gypsy Moth Spraying (June 19, 2018)
Laura woke to hear lovely birds, and then an airplane mission-bound to kill their food.Duration: 5′51″ Related blog post with transcript
- A Week on Hog Island (June 15, 2018)
Laura spent last week in Maine as an instructor in Audubon’s Joy of Birding Class on Hog Island.
- Koni Sundquist (June 11, 2018)
Koni Sundquist, who died May 31, was Laura’s treasured friend, ally, and mentor.Duration: 6′01″ Related blog post with transcript
- Declining Birth Rate (June 8, 2018)
The birth rate in the United States is falling, but contrary to media reports, this is good news.Duration: 4′43″ Related blog post with transcript
- Listener Favorite: Robyn's Saw-whet Owl (June 6, 2018)
Robyn Schroeder sent Laura a letter about her favorite bird.
- The Giving Tree (June 4, 2018)
Laura’s wonderful old box elder next to her office window gave her a special treat last week.
- Individuals vs Populations (June 1, 2018)
As extremely important as protecting populations is, there’s value in protecting individuals, too, and the goals are not incompatible.
- The Life and Death of a Great Gray Owl (May 31, 2018)
A listener named Mike writes about a tragic loss.
- Google Supports Cat Colonies over Owls (May 30, 2018)
Google’s employees have built cat feeding stations in Shoreline Park, an important wildlife area adjacent to the Googleplex. Burrowing Owls are paying the price.
- Biggest Week in American Birding (May 28, 2018)
Every May, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in northwestern Ohio puts together an amazing birding festival right when warblers are everywhere. Laura attended this year.
- Eastern Towhee's Got a Name (May 25, 2018)
Thanks to an Eastern Towhee showing up in her yard this week that both Laura and her son Tom heard, Laura finally has a mnemonic for the bird’s song: It’s singing its own name!
- T.W.'s Best Bird: Red-winged Blackbird (May 23, 2018)
This week, Laura heard from two listeners, four-and-a-half-year-old T.W. and his mother Ann.
- The Creepiness Factor of Birdwatching (May 22, 2018)
Apparently many Americans find birders creepy.
- Summer Tanager in Duluth! (May 17, 2018)
A not-quite-year-old Summer Tanager turned up in Duluth on Sunday, and Laura headed straight to Alison Clarke’s house to see it.
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ Buff-breasted Sandpiper (May 11, 2018)
Sometimes birds help us get through the hardest times of our lives.
- Visit to Florida (May 8, 2018)
Laura and Russ spent a week in Florida, where Laura spent a lot of time recording birds and listening to a colony of wading birds, including Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks.
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ First Pileated Woodpecker (May 3, 2018)
Laura’s first Pileated Woodpecker was her best bird EVER!
- Basal Cell Carcinomas: An Occupational Hazard of Birding (May 2, 2018)
Laura just had the Mohs procedure to remove a bit of cancer on her face. Now she’s good to go for another year or two.
- Listener Favorite: Steve Dahlberg's Great Blue Heron (May 1, 2018)
One of Laura’s listeners on KAXE reminded her about the best of Great Blue Herons.
- Spring Update (April 30, 2018)
Spring birds are starting to trickle in where Laura lives; they’re arriving much sooner to the south of her. She loves the predictable unpredictability of spring.Duration: 4′52″ Related blog post with transcript
- Visiting Port Wing's South Shore School (April 25, 2018)
Laura visited some wonderful kids in Port Wing, Wisconsin, last week.Duration: 4′21″ Related blog post with transcript
- Visiting Northern Wisconsin (April 24, 2018)
Laura had a speaking event in Ashland last week to support the Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands, and then had a wonderful encounter with a bobcat in another wetlands.
- Listener Favorite: American Bittern (April 23, 2018)
A caller told Laura about a couple of fun encounters with American Bitterns.
- Listener Favorite: Val's Great Crested Flycatcher (April 20, 2018)
One of Laura’s friends sent her an email about her first encounters with a Great Crested Flycatcher.Duration: 3′38″ Related blog post with transcript
- Listener Favorites: Paul Peterson's Winter Wren with a poem by John Bates (April 19, 2018)
Paul Peterson said his favorite bird is the Winter Wren, and Laura reads a John Bates poem about this bird’s splendid song.Duration: 4′18″ Related blog post with transcript
- Dangerously Cold Weather (April 18, 2018)
Birds are having a lot of trouble with this serious cold snap. How can we help?
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Chapter 8. Five-striped Sparrow (April 12, 2018)
Some of the birds Laura calls her “Best Bird EVER!” are common, everyday species. But not this one.
- Listener's Favorite Birds #6: Mike's Loon (April 10, 2018)
Mike Elliott considers the loon his Spirit Bird, especially after a close encounter of the magical kind.
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Chapter 7. White Tern (April 9, 2018)
Sometimes, getting pooped upon by a bird can be a good thing, at least for one person we know.
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Chapter 6. Tommy's Bohemian Waxwing (April 5, 2018)
A Bohemian Waxwing that came to visit when Laura’s son Tom was 2 years old was her Best Bird EVER!Duration: 3′58″ Related blog post with transcript
- Hiking vs. Sauntering vs. Moseying (April 3, 2018)
Laura takes a rambling jaunt through the dictionary, considering various styles of walking.
- Listener's Favorite Birds #5: Paula's Timberdoodle (April 2, 2018)
Laura’s friend Paula called KUMD to tell us about her favorite early spring bird: the timberdoodle, also known as the American Woodcock.
- Blue Jays Are Here to Stay (March 30, 2018)
Saturday marks the end of National Blue Jay Month; we won’t be celebrating another one until October 2020. We may not think about Blue Jays often, but long after we’re gone, Laura Erickson and the California Ravens think Blue Jays will be here to stay.
- Architects and Birds (March 29, 2018)
Laura talks about how much architects have to learn to make the windows on their buildings safer for birds.Duration: 4′53″ Related blog post with transcript
- Listener's Favorite Birds #4: Erik's Gyrfalcon (March 23, 2018)
The Gyrfalcon is Erik’s favorite bird.Duration: 4′50″ Related blog post with transcript
- Meg's Question: When do Canada Geese molt? (March 22, 2018)
Laura loves answering questions, including a new one about goose molting.
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Chapter 5. Katie's Boo Jays (March 21, 2018)
When Laura’s daughter Katie was just learning to stand up, she helped Laura see blue jays with new eyes.Duration: 4′30″ Related blog post with transcript
- Letter from Listener: Becca's Great Gray Owl (March 20, 2018)
Becca Mulenburg wrote Laura about an exciting encounter with a Great Gray Owl.Duration: 4′27″ Related blog post with transcript
- Birds in the News (March 19, 2018)
Puffins, Penguins, Penguin Poop, and More!
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! Chapter 4. Baby Joey and the Las Vegas Great-tailed Grackles (March 16, 2018)
In her continuing series, Laura talks about why a Great-tailed Grackle flock in Las Vegas became her Best Birds EVER!
- Daniel Klem coming to Minnesota to speak about the Vikings Stadium (March 15, 2018)
The man who did the seminal work on collisions between birds and glass is coming to the Twin Cities next week to speak about ways the US Bank Stadium where the Vikings play can be retrofitted to make it safer for birds.
- Listeners' Favorite Birds #3: Gretchen and Dahlaihuu's Towhee (March 14, 2018)
One of Laura’s listeners called in about her 11-year-old son’s favorite bird.
- A Trip to the Bog (March 13, 2018)
Laura and her friend Erik took a trip to the Sax-Zim Bog, focusing mostly on Evening Grosbeaks and Black-backed Woodpeckers.Duration: 5′17″ Related blog post with transcript
- Laura’s Best Bird EVER! Chapter 3. Ludwig the Blue Jay (March 12, 2018)
Laura’s Best Bird EVER was a little Blue Jay named Ludwig.
- Listener's Favorite Birds #2: Jim Baker's Blue Jay (March 9, 2018)
An old friend of For the Birds (and our fictitious underwriter) gives his two cents worth about his favorite bird, and Laura searches for cutting edge news stories about Blue Jays.
- Apple's Windows (March 8, 2018)
Birds aren’t the only ones who collide into glass.Duration: 4′13″ Related blog post with transcript
- Listener's Favorite Birds #1: Lisa's Gray Jay (March 7, 2018)
With this program, Laura inaugurates a new feature on For the Birds. Listeners can submit a brief recording or voicemail telling us what their favorite bird is, and Laura will blather on, giving more information about it.
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Chapter 2. Black-capped Chickadee (March 2, 2018)
March 2 is the anniversary of Laura seeing her Best Bird EVER!, a Black-capped Chickadee.Duration: 5′04″ Related blog post with transcript
- Laura's Best Bird EVER! Chapter 1. Blue Jay (March 1, 2018)
When Laura was 7 years old, she saw a Blue Jay for the first time. That was her Best Bird EVER! She’s seen many more Best Birds EVER! since then. What makes any bird a Best Bird EVER?
- Of Lifer Owls and Extraordinary Sporting Wins (Feb. 27, 2018)
Laura’s friend Susan and Laura’s birding dog Pip saw two great owls for the first time ever last Monday. Pip had more owl luck all week, and on Saturday, the day the USA Men’s Curling Team won their Gold Medal, Pip saw a Boreal Owl–the same species she saw the night the Cubs won the World Series. Coincidence?
- Get a Grip! (Feb. 21, 2018)
Laura got an up-close-and-personal look at a Ruffed Grouse that shows exactly how this splendid bird can get a grip, even on icy branches.Duration: 4′41″ Related blog post with transcript
- Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival and Great Backyard Bird Count (Feb. 16, 2018)
This weekend is a big one for Laura.Duration: 5′00″ Related blog post with transcript
- Superb Owl Sunday 2018; Massive Bad Karma (Feb. 7, 2018)
Laura and Lisa got skunked on seeing any owls on this Superb Owl Sunday. Laura thinks it’s because of a massive owl tragedy earlier in the week.
- Save Birds at YOUR Windows! Interview with Jeff Acopian (Feb. 2, 2018)
Unlike the Minnesota Vikings, most of us don’t have a billion-dollar budget, subsidized by public funding, for home improvements if our windows are killing birds. Jeff Acopian came up with an inexpensive, aesthetically pleasing yet extremely effective solution: Acopian BirdSavers, nicknamed Zen Wind Curtains. Laura interviewed Jeff this week. Christopher Harwood did the engineering at the KUMD studio to make the phone interview possible.Duration: 5′15″ Related blog post with transcript
- The Minnesota Vikings' Curse of the Bird-Killing Glass (Feb. 1, 2018)
As a lifelong Cubs fan, Laura knows all about curses. She
- Where are all the birds? (Jan. 31, 2018)
People have been asking Laura where the birds are this winter. They’re not in her yard.
- Once in a Blue Moon (Jan. 30, 2018)
Tonight’s full moon is more than a Blue Moon. But will Blue Jays even notice?
- Our Far Flung Correspondents: Owls and Fences (Jan. 26, 2018)
David Bartlam came upon a dead Great Horned Owl in Proctor, Minnesota: yet another tragedy caused by a fence.
- Helen Turns 99! (Jan. 24, 2018)
Laura’s mother-in-law, who gave her her first pair of binoculars, is 99 years old today.
- Owls (Jan. 23, 2018)
There are more owls hanging around the Northland than one might expect during National Blue Jay Awareness Month.Duration: 4′28″ Related blog post with transcript
- Savoring Birds with Friends (Jan. 19, 2018)
Laura got to spend a day birding with three friends, reminding her of her days in Madison, Wisconsin.
- Of Sh*tholes and Shriveled Souls (Jan. 16, 2018)
Laura voices her fury with a man who could use an ugly obscenity to refer to places on this planet where our fellow human beings and fellow creatures live.Duration: 5′16″ Related blog post with transcript
- Our Far Flung Correspondents: Mealworms and Water in Winter (Jan. 8, 2018)
Are freeze-dried mealworms as nutritious as fresh ones? And should we be using heated bird baths during excessively cold days in winter?
- The Pathological Moseyer Gets a Desk Treadmill (Jan. 5, 2018)
In what way does Laura identify with Canada Geese?
- Wisdom the Albatross is 67 years old--or even older! (Jan. 2, 2018)
Good news about Wisdom, the oldest known wild bird in the world. And, because it’s National Blue Jay Awareness Month, we have some information on the Blue Jay longevity scene, too.
- Rats! (Dec. 12, 2018)