birds, Florida wildlife, learning, nature, perseverance, photography

The Florida Scrub-jay…

Florida Scrub-jays stand as the only bird endemic to Florida. They live in a rather limited environment of scrub oak in central Florida, an environment that is threatened by development, and their populations are isolated.  They attract birders from all over who come to see them, possibly because when they aren’t threatened they can become very tame, landing on heads, arms, and hands to get food.  Charming as that is, feeding them can cause them to breed earlier in the year, and consequently their young may hatch before the caterpillars that make up their main food source are plentiful in the late spring and summer.

The young stay with their families for a year and help raise the young.  They cooperate by having one stand watch for hawks while the rest of the family hunts for food.  The oldest recorded Florida Scrub-jay was 15 years old, having been banded in 1975 and again in 1990.  They bury thousands of acorns per year, and some of those will germinate and so they help disperse a variety of oak trees.  But they are considered a threatened species, and efforts are being made to preserve their habitat.

Scrub-jays were our first objective and first stop on the photo safari we were on on Friday.  And it was looking as if we would strike out since nothing much as happening at first.  But they were described as ‘curious’, and after a little bit we started to see them on the wires.  We had a few nuts with us, and much to my amazement they did come to us, landing on our heads and hands.  I wasn’t ready for how quick they were, grabbing a nut and then flying off to the ground with it.  What a treat it was to see them, another main objective of the day that came to pass.5-12scrub25-12scrub35-12scrubjay5-11Larryscrubjay25-11Larryscrubjay.jpg

The brown on this guy’s back and head indicates that it is a juvenile.  Such a treat to have him land on your head or your hand.   And not poop on you, that part was nice too!  I’ve been holding off on this post until I got the pictures of me, and today I did.  The whole day was fun, but this was a special treat.Meandscrubjay2closescrubMeandscrubjay

8 thoughts on “The Florida Scrub-jay…”

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