One would think, that growing up in Florida, I would have seen Florida Scrub Jay’s all over the place. In actuality though, I had never heard of the bird until I started seriously birding this year.
The Florida Scrub Jay is only found in Florida, and is an inquisitive and friendly bird, and the species dates back to about 2 million years ago.
Wanting to find some Florida Scrub Jays, I went to the trusty Cornell University’s eBird.org website to find where they are. Luckily, very close to where we are staying is the Lyonia Preserve in Volusia County.
Arriving mid-morning I discovered the preserve is behind a public library. It is classical Florida Scrub brush. White sand and palmetto trees.
There are three trails, yellow, red, and blue that each circle further away from the library. I had to chose my path well, as if I wasn’t careful, I would sign onto a five-mile hike.
But finding the Florida Scrub Jays were like looking for a needle in a haystack. Where oh where could these Jays be in all this scrub brush? It was fairly quiet, no birds chirping or rustling except a pair of House Wrens. So down the path I went. Going this a-way, and that a-way.
Coming to a four way intersection, I wondered which way to go. No Scrub Jays in sight. But wait…??? What is that I hear rustling in the scrub? I quickly play their song on my iBird app and before I knew it, Scrub Jays surrounded me!
I hit the jackpot ! Not only did I find one Scrub Jay, but there were five of them! They all came in, inquisitive and wondering if perhaps I had something for them. They had all been banded, and there are clear signs to not feed the Florida Scrub Jays. Seems feeding them throws off their breeding season and the babies are born before their food is available.
Even these Jays know to give me “The Look”, especially when they figured out I didn’t have food, nor was another Jay.
One came in so close, I couldn’t get her with my big lens, so I snapped this with my iPhone. Stepping back with the beast, I was able to get a beautiful capture of her.
Finally giving up hope, she went on top of a tree, fluffed up a bit and grabbed a natural berry.
They are such beautiful birds, I was so fortunate to be in their presence. Feeling them fly closely by and hearing the loud flutter of their wings was truly a magical moment.
Categories: 2013 Project 365, Birds, Florida, Nature, travel
Why do these birds looked peeved – have Stellar Jays here and have a similar expression – ha!
It’s that huge honking lens that I stare at them with. None of the birds like it! LOL!
Ha! – love it – you are such a HOOT!!!
Beautiful, beautiful photos!
Thanks Judy ! It really has been an amazing year birding. First the Snowy Owl, now these. Life birding doesn’t get much better than this.
So great that you got to see them,and then you got great shots too! Yea, feeding Scrub Jays can be a big problem for the jays, and especially for the young. Unfortunately, some don’t follow the signs and the jays suffer. Nice blog!
It’s great to see you Scott, and hope you get this response. It was wonderful meeting you on Wednesday, and appreciate your expertise. Loved the Jays! Good luck with the Christmas count.
Truly spectacular. I love the delicate blue…
Aren’t they amazing? And their personalities are a super bonus. You’d love them. Wish I had some as pets.
The way the bird is looking at you speaks a lot, saying Hey You! You like me, you really like me. And I really like your shots, Emily. Great shots….
LOL !! You are too funny Perpetua. They were really intrigued by me, but then quickly lost interest.
Love the last image. All those puffed out feathers.
I’m with you Beth. An absolutely favorite. 🙂
Another great post and lovely images Emily. What a beautiful little bird – fabulous blue colour. That white sand almost looks like snow.
This is the sand that I grew up on. Soft, beautifully white Florida sand. It’s glorious stuff – can’t get enough of it. Well..that being said, it gets everywhere. 🙂
I love the “look”! That’s what you get for trying to fool the poor birds. 😉
LOL ! Yes ! And staring at them with the beast.
I never saw them while living in Florida. I did always laugh that the robins would be there for Christmas. Their long gone from here.
Beautiful expression on the evil eye one. Ha!
Isn’t that funny that both of us were Floridians but never knew of these guys? I’m so happy I discovered them. They’re awesome. And yes..I do get the look don’t I?
Glad to see your long wait was worth waiting for.
Indeed, good things happen to those that wait. That and having a sharp ear helps.
Such reward! Beautiful shots.
You are too sweet Lynne. Thank you so much!
The scrub jay is one of Florida’s friendliest songbirds, as well as one of its most threatened. Although scrub jays thrive in the western U.S. and Mexico, east of the Mississippi they exist only in Florida.
I love these images! I especially love FL Scrub Jays! I recently did a post on them myself; I am a native Floridian and hadn’t pursued them until I became a birder as well.
Can’t wait to check the post out Brian. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I love reading posts of the same subject matter. It is fun to see what other people experience.