Florida Scrub-Jay
Young scrub-jays go blue …

What’s the badge of adulthood for the Florida scrub-jay? Getting a blue head. Young scrub-jays have fuzzy brown-feathered heads. But now that it is autumn, the juveniles are molting and well on their way to looking like the grown-up scrub-jays with flashy blue heads.

Fall is also peak time for scrub-jays to gather and hide acorns for the colder months. An individual scrub-jay can cache 6,000 to 8,000 acorns in a year! Just as amazingly, scrub-jays can remember the location of many of their stashes.

The Florida scrub-jay is the only bird species unique to Florida. It currently is federally listed as a threatened species.

Scrub-jay populations are thought to have declined by as much as 90 percent since the late 1800s due to habitat loss from development and agriculture. More recently, scrub-jays have continued to decline even on protected lands due to inadequate habitat management. Historically, periodic wildfires maintained the shrubby, open habitat that scrub-jays need to survive. Now scrub-jays and other plants and animals rely on agencies like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to use prescribed fire and other methods to maintain the shrubby habitat they need.
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