Florida has some wildlife species that only live here, and one of them is the Florida scrub jay. This winged inhabitant of the peninsula is under many threats as development eliminates its habitat and are now found only in isolated patches of its former range. Scrub jays are about one foot tall and eat acorns, insects, and lizards and will hunt from a tree or search along the ground for food. They are bold and inquisitive birds and will approach human visitors. Rare among birds, the scrub jay forms a family group that stays together for years. As with many other species, they need fire to make their habitats sustainable. This fire used to be made by lighting strikes, but now man-made prescribed fires are required.
Scrub jays, as the name implies, need scrub habitat to survive. This ecotype once covered most of Central Florida and much now lays under pavement and buildings.
If we are to keep the wonderful scrub jay on the landscape, we need to retain places for them to live.
Photo by Thea M. Hein-Mathen.