The Florida Scrub-Jay is Florida's only endemic species of bird. I have tried repeatedly over the years to find one and never had any luck but yesterday, at last I managed it. I travelled north to Jupiter and specifically the Johnathon Dickinson State park where the habitat is perfect for them and I had been reading reports of sightings there. Within minutes of arriving at the park we walked along a track where apparently - according to the ranger at the park's main gate - they are constantly seen. He said my chances were around 70% so imagine my excitement when suddenly, after an almost birdless 20 minute walk, there was oen on a high tree next to the road. We then spent a magical few hours with them, I say them because we saw around 5 in total. This is the most confiding species of bird that you are ever likely to encounter. A pish - pish was guaranteed to get one to fly to you and almost land on your shoulders and of course when a a bird is that close its easy to study it in great detail. Some were sporting both plastic and metal rings. But this adult below was not part of the study which I found odd?
Scrub-Jay live in family groups and the birds from previous years cooperate and feed the current fledglings with the original adults being the breeders. They are a really attractive, smart bird, smart in both meanings of the word. They were massively interested in the peanuts that I offered, eating some but flying off to cache the rest, always in the same spot. I have seen European Jays caching peanuts in this way.
I thought at first that I could see that there was some discernible differences between the male and female but apparently there is no sexual dimorphism, however these different birds were probably juveniles. I have taken note of the exact spot where I saw these elusive, endangered and declining birds and if you want directions then please feel free to email me and I will tell you specifically and exactly where you will be able to see them for yourself. I have to say that I was very, very pleased to at last add Florida Scrub-Jay to my gallery of bird species which now totals getting on for 700 different species. I have an ambition to photograph 1000 species before I "shuffle off this mortal coil" - thank's Shakespeare - I'm well on the way!