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The Florida scrub-jay should be the Official Bird of the State of Florida

By Staff | Jan 13, 2022

Florida scrub jay

To the editor:

The Florida State Legislature is considering a bill which will change the State Bird from the northern mockingbird to the Florida scrub-jay. The mockingbird is the official state bird of Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The Florida scrub-jay is the only bird species that lives exclusively in Florida. It is listed as “Threatened” on both the Federal and State Endangered Species lists. The bird has bright blue white feathers and is known for its curiosity and fearlessness. The jay will fly down to your hand, look you in the eye, pick up a seed, fly away and in a split second, return to grab more seed, or land on your head!

This bird’s habitat is restricted to low-growing oak scrub and scrubby flatwoods. The oaks provide the jay with acorns, and nesting sites. The primary threats to the bird are habitat destruction, fragmentation and degradation from development and agriculture.

This designation may lead to the added protections necessary to save the scrub-jay from extinction. The state may be compelled to provide funding for land acquisition and habitat management. The distinction may also attract the interest and support of the general public. Perhaps developers will be discouraged from building in scrubby flatwoods.

Birding is an economic driver and establishing such a unique creature as our state bird will no doubt drive eco-tourism to our state over and above what exists today.

Please help the Florida scrub jay become the new State Bird of Florida. Call or email your state senators and representatives. Urge them to them to vote in favor of the proposed bill. Reference Senate Bill 378, Senate Bill 324, House Bill 207

Lee County contacts include:

* Florida State Representative Spencer Roach, House District 79, 850-717-5079

Spencer.Roach@myfloridahouse.gov 

* Florida State Senator Ray Rodrigues, Senate District 27, 850-487-5027

Ray.Rodrigues@flsenate.gov

* Adam Botona, District 76, 850-717-5076

Adam.Botona@myfloridahouse.gov.

* Mike Giallombardo, District 77, 850-717-5077, Mike.Giallombardo@myfloridahouse.gov.

* Jenna Persons, District 78, 850-717-5078

Jenna.persons@myfloridahouse.gov

* Ben Albritton, District 26, 850-467-5026

Ben.Albritton@flsenate.gov.

* Kathleen Passidomo, District 28, 850-487-5028

Kathleen.Passidomo@flsenate.gov

If you know of other legislators you have known or dealt with in the past, please contact them, too. If the bill passes, Florida scrub jays will be much better off and so will the humans who have saved them.

Carl Veaux

Cape Coral

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