Don’t Bash the Brown Birds

#19 of 31 Days to Better Birding and Conservation

One of our least favorite terms in birding are “little brown jobbies” or LBJs. This term usually refers to sparrows but has been expanded to include birds from wrens to sandpipers. They are usually families of birds that include similar species, so we could also include Empidonax flycatchers and gulls in the mix.

But, these “brown” birds have distinct, wonderful features that are worth viewing and worthy of distinction. Among the sparrow clan, look at how many of these skulkers are spectacular looking – White-crowned, Fox, Le Conte’s, Black-throated, White-throated, Fox, Lincoln’s, the list goes on and on. What about wrens? Outside of the Cactus Wren, U.S. wrens are similar – brown and hidden, heard scolding more often than seen.

But when you see a Carolina Wren in all its brown glory, you realize this bird is far from any ordinary “brown bird”. And the common House Wren is one of the most interesting birds to watch, always active and alive.

We could go on, but the important thing to note is that among similar birds there are always distinctions and no matter how brown and boring, they are always worth watching.

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