Iconic Florida bird faces extinction – one group is fighting to save it

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Florida Scrub Jay / Credit: Florida State Parks (floridastateparks.org)

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Property owners could soon have one additional tool to help save a native Florida bird that’s at risk for extinction.

The Florida scrub jay is the only bird endemic to Florida. It means they breed nowhere else in the world, except in the state. That’s why Audrey DeRose-Wilson, Audubon Florida’s Director of Bird Conservation, is concerned.

“Today their population is just ten percent of what it was about 200 years ago.”

The bird thrives in scrub habitats. However, the availability of these scrub habitats is decreasing with further development in the state.

“Scrub habitats, like most of Florida, was maintained by fire. And originally that would be wildfires or fires that were set by indigenous people to manage the landscape. But now, with Florida being as developed as it is, no one wants a fire in their backyard.”

Next month, Audobon Florida will be conducting a survey to provide data to property owners with scrub jays. DeRose-Wilson will analyze the data, and provide landowners with insights they can use to maintain scrub jays on their property.

DeRose-Wilson has a clear message for those who want to help:

“Get out and volunteer, or just get out and enjoy them”

 

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