Product Type: Science Feature
Author(s): Ruth, J
Ruth, J. 2002. They Aren't Just "LBJs". http://www.fort.usgs.gov/resources/research_briefs/lbjs.asp.
This publication is available from the USGS Fort Collins Science Center .
By way of explanation for the title ..... when presented with the challenge of identifying sparrows and other grassland birds, many people prefer to simply refer to them as LBJs (or "little brown jobs"). Identification is particularly challenging in the winter when these birds are cryptically colored, are not singing identifiable songs, and prefer to respond to disturbances by hiding in the grass or running along the ground like little mice. However, after several years of conducting research on habitat use by and effects of grazing on wintering grassland birds, I can tell you that the effort is well worth the struggle. Holding a Baird's Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) in the hand, with the warm ochre color washing over its face, crown, and nape, or managing a good look at a crouching Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus) male coming into breeding plumage, in the split second before he bursts into the air from under your feet, is worth all the frustrations of "unknown sparrows" in between...