Introducing the Scrub Jay: Florida’s Hidden Gem and Potential State Bird

Scrub Jay -Bird - Florida

Image via Shutterstock.

By Mivette Vega

June 28, 2023

The species is the only endemic bird of the state, which is why scrub jay advocates say it is more representative than the mockingbird. 

For several years Floridians led by a group of Seminole High School students have been advocating for the Florida scrub jay to become the official state bird. 

The scrub jay is the only endemic bird of the state, which means that it isn’t found anywhere else in the world.

That is why the advocates for the bird consider it to be more representative than the mockingbird, which was designated the official state bird in 1927. The mockingbird is also the state bird of Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.

The matter has reached Tallahassee, as several bills have been filed over the years that propose making the scrub jay the official bird of Florida.

The most recent attempt was during the last legislative session, which died in the Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee.

However, this past March, Seminole County stepped up and made the scrub jay the official bird of the county.

Let’s get to know the scrub jay a little better:

  • Its wings, head, and tail are blue, while its back and underside are gray. It is the size of a blue jay.
  • It feeds on insects, frogs, toads, lizards, mice, bird eggs, and acorns.
  • It lives in families made up of parents and their young.
  • It inhabits sand pine and xeric oak scrub, and scrubby flatwoods, which occur in some of the highest and driest areas of Florida.
  • It is a threatened species because of habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation from development and agriculture.

RELATED: 7 Best Places to See Alligators in Florida

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Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

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