Laura Erickson Co-authors National Geographic Birding Guide

Golden-crowned kinglets maintain a body temperature of 111 degrees, even during the dead of winter.

Ravens may have first been attracted to the Tower of London to scavenge on the corpses of victims who had been executed.

Sandhill cranes rub mud into their feathers while preening to stain them the color of local soils, for the purpose of camouflage while nesting.

Those are three facts that Duluth’s Laura Erickson came across and included in her latest book, a National Geographic pocket guide called “Birds of North America.”

Not a complete field guide, the book offers descriptions of 160 common species. It’s co-authored by Jonathan Alderfer.

“What they wanted was a nice little invitation to birding,” Erickson said. “We wanted people to be introduced to birding in a user-friendly way.”

This is her seventh book about birds and birding, and she has co-authored others.

Each bird in this guide is presented in a full-color spread with photos, illustrations, descriptions, behavior characteristics and range.

Erickson had just three months to put together the bird descriptions for the book. As she has done for each previous book, she went back and researched each species and often learning something new, she said.

Erickson’s books complement her popular “For the Birds” radio program, which has run on public radio stations for more than 25 years. She also served as science editor for Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology from 2008 to 2010.

National Geographic’s “Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America” is available now from booksellers at a suggested price of $12.95.