Friday, April 25, 2014

Portrait of a special bird

The Florida Scrubjay is a special bird.  The only place it lives is in Florida and even then, its only found in parts of the state that meet its very specific habitat requirements.

To survive, the Florida Scrubjay must live on acreage that is not covered with trees.  It needs a scrub habitat that burns frequently so the few trees that are there remain stunted

These highly social birds live in extended family units. Adults males and females mate for life and offspring stay with the family for two or more years to help raise the young.

Breeding doesn't begin until the Florida scrubjay is at least 2 years old, often not until it is 3 or 4 years old

Acting as a sentry is an important part of Florida Scrubjay behavior.  The sentry poses on the highest branches of the tallest tree in its territory to watch for predators and defend its family unit.

In addition to acting as a lookout and protector, the sentry also helps feed young scrubjays

Acorns are the mainstay of a Florida Scrubjay's diet but it will also eat seeds, berries, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, insects and even mice.

Munching on rosary peas, which are poisonous to people but not harmful to birds

Since the land need by these special birds is often developed or overgrown by trees, Florida Scrubjay population is waning.  Currently there are only about 6000 birds left.  Yet, even though people are mainly responsible for their lack of habitat, the Florida Scrubjay remains one of the friendliest birds around.  Instead of shying away from humans, these blue-and-gray birds will allow people to get very close. And, although feeding Scrubjays is not recommended because the birds then become dependent upon the food, a wild bird will even eat raw unsalted peanuts out of a person's hand.

Even though people are responsible for much of the destruction of scrubjay habitat, wild birds remain surprisingly willing to interact with humans


  1. Love your last 3 shots. They are great shots. Not to be critical but the first two are not shopped well. They are yellow on the website.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Michael, and I apologize for taking so long to respond. I'm afraid my comment notification was incorrectly set and I didn't see your post until just recently.