There’s only one bird species that lives exclusively in Florida, and fortunately Central Florida is a part of its habitat. It’s the Florida Scrub-Jay, the colorful but endangered bird that lives in scrub oak and sandy-soil areas.
I’ve been able to photograph them several times in Brevard County at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and at the Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary in Rockledge. Both have the right environmental conditions these birds need to survive.
“Extensive development and habitat fragmentation in Florida threaten this bird’s already small population, placing it on the federal endangered species list,” AllAboutBirds.org reports.
Scrub-Jays stay very close to their homes, not venturing far from where they are hatched. Of course, when your habit is small there’s not a lot of places to go.
They can also be found in some areas of Lake County. When I was a kid, there used to be some near my grandparents’ home — and I still have a photo me feeding one there.
It’s among my favorites of Florida Scrub-Jay pictures, and here are some others I have taken since January 2023.