What is Little Brown Jobs or LBJs?
This has nothing to do with sex, by the way, only birds.
I learned about this affectionate name and acronym while I was in Kentucky this year. We were about to get Starbucks coffee and the bushes in front of the car were filled with unknown little brown sparrows fluttering and chirping away from bush to bush. Elaine shared that her dad calls any small brown birds, Little Brown Jobs or LBJs. Stuck with me.
Love this because with teaching and instilling appreciation in kids and adults – they do not need to understand the technical names or biological references. They just need to recognize that it is cool that we have wildlife that is important to the greater overall impact it has on us.
Wildlife often does not need a fancy reference name. In some instances using a rad acronym helps make connections to them easier to be appreciated.
Acronyms help us pass on our appreciation and care, and the ability to make a deeper connection for others to care. You cannot tell me that you would rather use LBJs than the simple name of a house sparrow or the other 38 species of sparrows in the U.S. Even identifying some of these 39 species is a challenge even for biologists.
Since the Covid year, I have come to appreciate these small flocks of LBJ’s in my backyard more and more. While I would love to have colorful songbirds and various musical notes visiting the yard where I live that just isn’t going to happen. Having these little LBJs in my backyard means they are enjoying life through the food I put out for them and the leftover flower seeds.
Their soft chirps remind me that all wildlife has a right to habitat even in our backyards, when wide open fields or forests may not be an option. Life would be quite dull without their chirps and rustling of wings or their early morning hopping on the patio.
I see LBJs as indicators of the health of a greater picture of our world. If they ever disappear entirely or their numbers dwindle down to nothing then I know to become more concerned.
Thankfully, and occasionally they share the backyard with some blue jays and occasionally a curved bill thrasher. Often, a white-crowned sparrow will show up amongst them, along with dark-eyed juncos.
LBJs = little brown jobs which = little brown sparrows! A win for the birds. A win for caring.