Laura Erickson's For the Birds

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"For the Birds" began airing on KUMD in Duluth, MN, in May, 1986, and is the longest continually-running radio program about birds in the U.S. Hundreds more episodes are available for free at

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"For the Birds" began airing on KUMD in Duluth, MN, in May, 1986, and is the longest continually-running radio program about birds in the U.S. Hundreds more episodes are available for free at
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-09-13 10:42
last episode published
2019-09-09 00:00
publication frequency
3.84 days
Laura Erickson author   owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Society & Culture Science & Medicine Sports & Recreation Natural Sciences Places & Travel Outdoor



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Of Blue Jay, Squirrel, and Human Intelligence

How smart are we, compared to Blue Jays and squirrels? To avoid controversy, getting listeners angry at little radio stations that carry this program, I omitted two important paragraphs from the podcast, which I do include on today's blog post: &gt...

Nighthawks on the Wing

Laura associates nighthawks with family events. This weekend's flights were no exception.

Hummingbird Migration Update

Watch those hummingbirds!

Owl Adventure with Laurens Halsey

Laura had a splendid nighttime adventure on a Southeast Arizona Birding Festival field trip for owls with Laurens Halsey. (All recordings on this program were from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology--my own recordings were marginal at best.)

Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

Laura had a jolly good time at the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival.

Piping Plover Update

Piping Plovers are doing very well this year, in Maine and Chicago.

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Laura had a heartening experience with Le Conte's Sparrows that has made her despairing of ever enjoying them again premature. She recorded the background sounds of this program that day.

Le Conte's Sparrow and Hearing Loss

Laura can *see* Le Conte's Sparrow songs better than she can hear them.

Panama Trip Report, Part II

The second half of Laura's trip to Panama was spent close to the Colombian border in Darien Province. The bird call you hear is a Harpy Eagle female near a nest, recorded in French Guiana by recordist Olivier Claessens.

Panama Trip Report, Part I

Laura is back from Panama. Today she talks about the first two places she visited.

Angela Maltese's Robin Story, continued (Robin Drama, Part III)

Laura and Angela Maltese shared notes about how connected they feel when they get to know individual birds.

Angela Maltese's Robin Story (Robin Drama, Part II)

Laura has been corresponding with a woman in Thunder Bay who has been watching her robins.

Robin Drama: Part I

A listener wrote to Laura about some robins terrorizing her family.


Laura's headed to Panama this week!

Lee Guthrie's House Wren

For the Birds listener Lee Guthrie had a question--why are House Wrens singing now that their young have fledged from the nest?

Birding for Health

Enjoying birds can contribute to a long, healthy life; even when it doesn't it improves our life during the time we have.

Feeding Jelly

KAXE listener Florence Diane Stay asked Laura whether feeding jelly is okay for birds. Laura says no scientific studies have looked at this, but based on a lot of anecdotes, jelly seems perfectly fine to offer birds as long as it's offered in small qua...

American Redstart on Peabody Street

A year-old American Redstart is trying to attract a mate to his little territory in Laura's backyard.

The Warmth of Love

Laura spent a happy day watching and photographing Piping Plover chicks and thinking about what warmth is all about. You can see photos of the chicks and their mother and father, along with a transcript, on her blog.

Rare Warbler Hybrid

When she was in Maine, Laura lucked into seeing and photographing a rare hybrid warbler, a cross between a Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warbler, but not one of the typical hybrids.


Laura spent three weeks on a road trip. Now she's home, trying to process all her photos and, more importantly, her memories.

Hunkered Down at Spinney's

If Laura had to be stuck indoors during a rainstorm in Maine, she found the right place.

Yellow-breasted Chat!

Laura is missing migration in Duluth right now, but found a pretty interesting bird in Freeport, Maine.

Spring Update

Laura Is missing the cold, but keeping track of the birds showing up in north country.

Indiana Dunes Birding Festival

Laura has been missing the snow in northern Minnesota. She spent last weekend at the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival.

Distressing News for Birders with Hearing Loss

One of Laura's favorite possessions, the SongFinder device that helps her hear high-frequency sounds, has been discontinued.

About that United Nations Extinction Report

Laura wonders what we are prepared to do in the face of mountains of evidence that climate change is destroying the natural world.

Warbler Day!

Laura celebrates every May 11 as Warbler Day.


When she was in Florida, Laura spent some quality time with Anhingas.


Laura saw lots of baby birds down in Florida. (Photos of everything she mentions are on today's blogpost.)

Black Vulture Madness

Laura and Russ had some tricky interactions with Black Vultures in a parking lot in the Everglades, leaving Laura with a tangible souvenir.

Book Review: Kenn Kaufman's A Season on the Wind

Laura reviews Kenn Kaufman's new book and talks about the famous Magee Marsh of northwestern Ohio.

Turtle vs. Duckling

Turtles eat ducklings, but when Laura got a video of a turtle attacking baby ducks in Florida, she saw a happy ending, at least for the baby duck.

Sabria's Blue Jay

Laura made a new friend who loves Blue Jays.

Sharp-tailed Grouse

Laura went to Oulu, Wisconsin, last week to see a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek.

New Glass Building in Duluth

Laura wrote to Dr. Daniel Klem regarding plans for a proposed glass building in Duluth.

The Anti-Woody Guthrie

Are robins capable of artistic expression?

Birding in the Tiniest State

Laura spent a few days in the tiniest state in the union and was impressed with all its birds.

Spring Update: March Madness

On Monday, Laura took a walk on the Western Waterfront Trail to see a big match between Winter and Spring.

Spring Update: Eagles, Hawks, Magpies, and a Most Cooperative Robin

Laura went to the Sax-Zim Bog on Saturday, where winter is starting to lose the battle against spring.

Full Interview with Caroline Van Hemert

Caroline Van Hemert talks to Laura about her book, *The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds.

Conversation with Caroline Van Hemert, Part 4: More Bird Stories

Laura loved the vivid descriptions of birds in Caroline Van Hemert's *The Sun Is a Compass.* In our final excerpt from Laura's telephone conversation with her, Caroline tells of her encounter with baby geese along the Arctic Ocean.

Conversation with Caroline Van Hemert, Part 3: Bird Stories

On her 4,000-mile journey in Alaska, Caroline Van Hemert met up with an exceptionally rare species and also some vulnerable hawk chicks.

Conversation with Caroline Van Hemert, Part 2: Planning and Packing for an Adventure

Planning for a wilderness adventure in Alaska is far more complicated than going on a birding road trip.

Conversation with Caroline Van Hemert, Part I: Where she went on her wilderness journey

Today, *The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds* is being released by Little, Brown Sparks. Laura interviewed author Caroline Van Hemert by phone at the KUMD studio last week. In this segment, Caroline reads a bit from the Pro...

Book Review: The Sun Is a Compass by Caroline Van Hemert

Laura fell truly, madly, deeply in love with a book coming out this week. This is her review of *The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds*, to be released tomorrow by Little, Brown Spark tomorrow.

Glass Towers

Duluth's biggest healthcare provider, the one Laura has used for decades, is planning to build a tall glass tower to give them a state-of-the-art new facility. Laura hopes they use glass that is both fritted and with reduced light transmission, to prot...

Cathy Zimmerman's Bobwhite

Cathy Zimmerman wrote to Laura about her Best Bird Ever--a Common Bobwhite that turned up way, way north of where it belonged.

Birds in the News

Birds are in the news, including Wisconsin's prairie chickens, more acknowledgments that animals are smarter than we thought, and an intriguing play between an Osprey and a Bald Eagle above the outfield of a Jacksonville University baseball game.

Abnormal Plumage, Part II: Leucistic Birds

An unusually pale chickadee is visiting Gayle Friday's feeders.