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Little Brown Birds

who's who?

So many little brown birds look the same. They might be sparrows, or wrens, or finches, or something altogether different. And you often find them together in winter. Learning to tell these "LBBs" apart can be really frustrating for novice birdwatchers. Birds such as wrens, finches, and sparrows - including this Fox Sparrow - are camouflaged to blend in with their habitats.

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Full Transcript

Little Brown Birds

Written by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!
[Medley of winter Song Sparrow and Winter Wren]
 On BirdNote, we often expound the marvels of bird watching and the fun of learning to identify each species. Yet, for many, all those little brown birds look the same. Like the ones we’re hearing—they might be sparrows, might be wrens, or something all together different. Learning to tell them apart can be really frustrating for novice bird watchers.
  [Medley of winter Song Sparrow and Winter Wren]
Long ago, bird watchers came up with whimsical terms to describe these small, brown, unidentified flying objects: LBBs (little brown birds) or LBJs (little brown jobs). These small brown sparrows, wrens, and finches are camouflaged to blend in with dried grass, leaves, and dark underbrush—it’s one means of their survival.
If it’s frustrating to sort out the “subtle streaking,” the “slightly greyer forehead,” or the “upright stance,” phrases that bird books use to distinguish the birds, don’t bother. The next time you are out for a walk in the park, and an unidentified flying object crosses your path and scuttles out of sight, forget the crazy-making subtle differences. Just call them “LBBs” and continue to enjoy your walk.
 [Medley of winter Song Sparrow and Winter Wren]
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Calls and songs of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of Winter Wren recorded by G.A. Keller, chipping call of the Song Sparrow recorded by A.A. Allen and P.P. Kellogg.
Ambient track recorded by C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to          November 2010

ID#112105lbjKPLU        birding-03b

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