The Florida scrub-jay is a loyal and social Florida native
It’s the state’s only endemic bird, which means the Florida scrub-jay is found nowhere else, and its need for a specific habitat is one reason why scrub-jay numbers are declining. The only bird species that requires a sandy, scrubby habitat to survive is the Florida scrub-jay.
As the state’s human population has grown, development has increased and the scrub-jays’ choice habitat has become more limited. A scrub-jay family’s permanent territory averages about 22 to 24 acres, which makes it challenging for young birds to find suitable space for a family.
The species is federally listed as threatened, in large part due to of loss of habitat and decades of fire suppression that allowed scrub habitat to become overgrown. Prescribed burning helps maintain the bare ground and shrub height vital for scrub-jay survival. The current Florida scrub-jay population is estimated at about 7,700 to 9,300 birds.
The sandy habitat necessary for scrub-jays is protected by a number of Florida state parks: