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Apr 10 2012

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: LBB

Trebuchet mentioned that LBBs – little brown birds – were totally legit to use as UFDs. So here we go, an LBB at Seward Park.

UFD I

It’s the best picture I’ve ever taken of one of these, which is silly, because they land on my porch all the time. It’s just that by the time I’ve turned the camera on, they’ve gone away. Birds are total bastards.

To help with identification, I’ve included some photos I took during the Snowpocalypse, such as this shot of a bird’s backside.

UFD II

I found it very amusing, don’t ask me why.

UFD III

I like the vaguely philosophical stance here, as if it’s trying to recover its dignity after getting shot in the arse. Not that it probably realized I’d just shot it in the arse. But maybe it understands what it means when a human’s standing in the sliding glass door aiming a camera at it, who knows?

UFD IV

Apparently, it then decided “To hell with dignity” and mooned me again before flying off into the storm.

A few days ago, when I was walking through the North Creek area of Bothell, another of them was kind enough to pose prettily on a tree.

UFD V

And, because you don’t quite often see this in Seattle, our LBB silhouetted against a blue sky.

UFD VI

I quite like these little buggers. They’re very bouncy. And they make my cat believe she’s some amazing huntress. She sits by the window and twitches at them until they go away.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    Cute … black head, but missing the red patches on the sides that a towhee has. Also has no spots. Spotted towhee is not it.

    Must be a junco!

    Specifically, dark-eyed junco of the black-headed Oregon variety. Junco hyemalis something-or-other

    Junco hyemalis thurberi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark-eyed_Junco

  2. 2
    Callan Bentley

    definitely a dark-eyed junco.

  3. 3
    Cunning Pam

    I got here to late to be among the first to identify the junco, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your UFD posts, Dana!

  4. 4
    Trebuchet

    Too late again! Oregon Junco. One of the more common and distinctive feeder birds around here. I especially like the picture in the tree with the tail spread, showing the white outer tail feathers normally only visible in flight.

    Here’s a rant: What’s with the ornithologists changing the common names of birds all the time? My wife and I first became interested in birds around 30 years ago. Since then, the Oregon Junco has become the dark-eyed junco, the marsh hawk has become the northern harrier, the Baltimore oriole has become the northern oriole, and many more. We just go ahead and use the names we first became accustomed to. Being northwesterners, of course, we’ve never actually seen an oriole.

  5. 5
    ekinodum

    Back when I was studying tetrapods in college, we referred to small, indistinguishable brown bird-like things (especially the females as they are often drab in appearance) as LBJ’s, or “little brown jobs”. Either there has been a change in the taxonomic status of these (maybe a monograph was written by someone knowledgable?) or the cultural touchstones have changed in the intervening 40 years…
    Oregon Juncos are actually not members of the larger clade LBJ (or LBB for you youngsters), as it is possible to distinguish them fairly easily. The females are members, though.

  6. 6
    Trebuchet

    I found myself stumped by some LBB’s/LBJ’s (I can see why “LBJ” would have been popular back then!) at my feeder a couple of years ago. They turned out to be American Goldfinches in their winter colors. That’s a really disinctive, can’t-miss-it bird. Some of the time!

    That, of course, was when I still could have bird feeders. Damned raccoons have made it impossible.

    BTW, I’m no youngster. I was in college when LBJ was president. Just not studying birds back then.

  7. 7
    RowanVT

    These little guys are all over where I live in California. It’s nice to finally know what they are!

  8. 8
    rq

    Missed this one, too. Oh well! I’ll be waiting for the next one.

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