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
2018-11-20 15:00
last episode published
2018-11-20 05:00
publication frequency
3.9 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

Laura's Best Bird EVER! Yesterday's Pileated Woodpecker

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](https://...

Our Far-Flung Correspondents: Brita and Odin, and Their Mom, Sarah

Laura has been corresponding with a longstanding listener, hearing about her delightful bird-appreciating children.

Pine Grosbeak: My Once-Upon-a-Dream Bird

For one brief, shining moment, a wild bird made Laura Erickson feel like she was in the middle of a Disney fairy tale.

Disney's Sleeping Beauty and a Real-Life Owl

Laura loved Walt Disney's *Sleeping Beauty* as a child, but real life is better than even the prettiest fairy tale.

In My Prime

What's so special about being 67? And is the answer the same if you're a human rather than an albatross?


Birdlife is changing in Laura's yard, and suddenly there's a goshawk hanging around.

Mandarin Duck in the Big Apple

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.

Acting for our children's future (Political content)

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 o...

Lark Bunting in Duluth

Laura saw a cool vagrant this week, a Lark Bunting.

Gone with the Wind

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.

Yellow-rumped Warblers

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

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

Laura's friend Lisa Johnson of KUMD had to respond to a recent For the Birds.

Sober Up!

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

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?

Live from KUMD

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!

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

Laura's good friend Susan Eaton shared her favorite bird, the Carolina Wren.

How Are This Year's Fires Affecting Nighthawks?

When listener Will Bomier asked Laura how this year's fires are affecting Common Nighthawks, she started looking into it.

Fiftieth Anniversary!

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

Laura gives this book her highest rating.

Bird Photography

Laura has a few hints for people who love watching birds and want to take some pictures of them.

Of Weddings and Baseball

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

Laura's first look at a bird being banded called to her mind a great American classic.

Across the Universe

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

One of Laura's listeners loves whistling back and forth with the young cardinals in her backyard. Can this teach them the wrong songs?

Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ Geppetto, Part 2

Laura picks up the story of Geppetto as she and her kids brought him to Camp Du Nord to release him.

Laura’s Best Bird EVER! ™ Geppetto, Part I

In 1998, Laura and her kids rehabilitated a baby Pileated Woodpecker.

June Hike

Laura was a leader on a hike along the Superior Hiking Trail this weekend, and heard lots of cool birds.

A History of the Boundary Waters

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.

For the Babies (Strong political viewpoint expressed)

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

Laura woke to hear lovely birds, and then an airplane mission-bound to kill their food.

A Week on Hog Island

Laura spent last week in Maine as an instructor in Audubon's Joy of Birding Class on Hog Island.

Koni Sundquist

Koni Sundquist, who died May 31, was Laura's treasured friend, ally, and mentor.

Declining Birth Rate

The birth rate in the United States is falling, but contrary to media reports, this is good news.

Listener Favorite: Robyn's Saw-whet Owl

Robyn Schroeder sent Laura a letter about her favorite bird.

The Giving Tree

Laura's wonderful old box elder next to her office window gave her a special treat last week.

Individuals vs Populations

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

A listener named Mike writes about a tragic loss.

Google Supports Cat Colonies over Owls

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

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

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

This week, Laura heard from two listeners, four-and-a-half-year-old T.W. and his mother Ann.

The Creepiness Factor of Birdwatching

Apparently many Americans find birders creepy.

Summer Tanager in Duluth!

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

Sometimes birds help us get through the hardest times of our lives.

Visit to Florida

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

Laura's first Pileated Woodpecker was her best bird EVER!

Basal Cell Carcinomas: An Occupational Hazard of Birding

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

One of Laura's listeners on KAXE reminded her about the best of Great Blue Herons.