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About Laura Erickson
For a few years, she was what she calls a migrant worker, migrating between her house and husband in Duluth, Minnesota, and her job as Science Editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. But she was homesick and returned to Minnesota for good. Now she's a contributing editor and columnist for BirdWatching magazine, and still working on "For the Birds," which has been on the air for 30 years. Wherever she is, she's likely to have her dog Pip along, and to be living with her cat Kasey (once a feral cat who lived on songbirds but now strictly an indoor cat) and her licensed education Eastern Screech-Owl, Archimedes. She has three wonderful adult children, all who care about birds and the environment.
Her website, which provides easy access to 30 years of radio programs and all her photographs, is at www.lauraerickson.com.
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See the intimate lives of birds as never before! Laura Erikson and Marie Read document the family lives of more than 50 common North American birds through breathtaking close-up photography. Stunning images of hummingbirds, owls, tanagers, and more showcase different stages of avian development and capture the loving bond that exists within each bird family. Bird enthusiasts of all feathers will cherish these beautiful images of courting, nest construction, eggs, nestlings, feeding time, and much more.
Was Caesar like the eagle because of his aquiline (from aquila, for “eagle” in Latin) nose, or does the eagle seem imperial because of his Caesar-like beak? Does the sharp vision of a “hawk-eyed” observer have any basis in nature? And what the heck is “kettling” to a bird-watcher, or, for that matter, a bird? Raptors have captured the imagination from time immemorial and have an especially rich history in Minnesota. The ancient peoples whose pictographs adorn the rock faces of Lake Superior’s North Shore may well have witnessed the first hawk movements along Lake Superior—the same annual migration that today draws as many as twenty thousand people to Duluth’s Hawk Ridge. These birds, passing through in astounding numbers, are among the hawks and accipiters, buteos and harriers, eagles and ospreys pictured and profiled in detail in this book.
Written by one of Minnesota’s best-known bird authorities, with images by one of the state’s favorite illustrators, Hawk Ridge is as fun as it is informative. It introduces the state’s raptors, from the rare visitor to the most familiar hawk, noting each species’ signature traits—osprey wings, for instance, are crooked to help them catch fish; vultures urinate on their legs to cool themselves—and their nesting, breeding, and migrating habits. Did you know that Sharp-shinned Hawks banded at Hawk Ridge have been found throughout Central America and even into South America, and also, in midwinter, in Wisconsin? Laura Erickson offers a broad perspective (a bird’s-eye view!), making sense of the raptor’s role in the larger ornithological scheme.
With descriptions of various species—and helpful distinctions between species, families, and orders—the book gives readers a clear idea of which raptors might be seen in Minnesota, when, where, and how often. It also includes a hawk migration primer that explains the movements that bring these birds in such awe-inspiring numbers to places like Hawk Ridge. Filled with curious facts and practical information for expert and amateur bird-watcher alike, the book is at once a guide to the hawks of Minnesota and a beautifully illustrated album of the most regal members of the avian kingdom.
Meet the saw-whet, the tiniest of Minnesota’s owls, a mere eight inches from the tip of its blunt tail to the top of its rounded head. The simplest way to find one is to listen for the scolding calls of a flock of agitated chickadees. Or, if you’re lucky, you might witness the male throwing all caution to the wind and “co-co-co-co-ing” for a mate, inching forward on every note like the bird in a cuckoo clock.
From this fetching little creature to the magnificent great gray, the owls of Minnesota have found the perfect spokeswoman in this book, which is as charming as it is informative. Written with wit and a remarkable command of bird lore by Laura Erickson, well known to public radio listeners and birdwatchers everywhere, Twelve Owls also features enchanting pictures, from the long view to up-close detail, by award-winning artist Betsy Bowen.
“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?” the barred owl asks, breaking into a duet that sounds like maniacal laughter when he gets lucky. The great gray, the biggest of the state’s—and perhaps the world’s—owls, hurls herself into the snow and fetches up a meadow vole, leaving behind a beautiful snow angel.
The telling detail, the natural drama, the identifying features, and the environmental story all unfold in Erickson’s engaging account of what to look for, where to look, and what these much-mythologized but very real denizens of the bird kingdom might be doing in the state of Minnesota.
In 365 day-by-day sketches, Laura Erickson brings more than 250 birds right into your living room-from rare hawk owls to elusive sedge wrens to plastic lawn flamingos. Light-hearted, yet authoritative, For the Birds is brimming with fascinating birdlore.
Did you know that you can mail three chickadees with a single stamp? That Black-billed Cuckoos flourish on a diet of army worms? That winter finches are especially attracted to feeders offering grit and eggshells?
Enjoy Laura’s entertaining observations and record your own in For the Birds-an uncommon guide.