For the Birds Radio Program: Top Ten Favorite Birds

Original Air Date: Feb. 18, 2002

What are Laura’s favorite birds? (Outdated email address.)

Audio missing


For years, people have been asking me what my favorite bird is. I always say the Blue Jay, but that is really a simplification. There are so many birds I couldn’t do without, and the more I learn about various species, the more I like them. It makes no sense to but a few of them stand out for really important reasons. I finally pared the list down to 10 species that may be my very favorites of all:

  1. The Blue Jay for its loveliness, ‘intelligence, and sense of fun.

  2. The Black-capped Chickadee because I can’t possibly look at one without smiling.

  3. The Great Gray Owl because it’s so mysterious and dignified.

  4. The Saw-whet Owl because it’s so darned cute. It was very difficult to choose between this and the Boreal Owl. My spending several days nurturing a baby Saw-whet Owl tipped the scale.

  5. The Magnolia Warbler. It was hard to choose just one warbler in a family of so many dainty and lovely birds, but the Magnolia wins because I see so many of them at eye level. Most warblers only live in the northland from May till September, and with such a limited time to see them, I especially like one that doesn’t play hard to get.

  6. The Resplendent Quetzal because ever since I was four years old I’ve thought it the most beautiful bird on the planet, and when I finally found one, I learned that the reality was even greater than my hopes and dreams.

  7. The Winter Wren for its tinkly, silver-threaded song.

  8. The Hermit Thrush for its hauntingly beautiful song.

  9. The Northern Cardinal because this is the bird that taught me how to whistle. Cardinals are not as brilliantly colored as Scarlet Tanagers, and their crests aren’t as expressive as those of Blue Jays. But they’re lovely to my eyes and ears both, they bring to mind the best of my childhood, and thanks to their range expansion they’re such a welcome addition to the north country.

  10. The Green Thorntail, a tiny Costa Rican hummingbird that takes my breath away with its daintiness and beauty. But when I’m not near the hummer I love, I love the hummer that’s near, so the good old Ruby-throated Hummingbird will serve just fine.

And, because I simply couldn’t limit my top ten list to just 10, finally,

Number 11. The Pileated Woodpecker for its magnificent presence, its grace and style, and its sheer funkiness.

There! That’s it–my 11 top ten favorite birds. If YOU have a top ten list of birds, send it to us in care of this station, or e-mail it to me.