|The Scrub Jay's World|
Lake Placid welcomes you to the world of the Florida scrub jay. This threatened, unique little bird is a bird all its own and it is found only in the Sunshine state and the Lake Placid area.
Florida scrub jays love peanuts; in fact, they love them so much, all you have to do is stand with a peanut on the palm of your hand. They will swoop down and sit on your head, shoulder, or hand. In a second, they will land on your hand, grab the peanut and off they go to bury it in the sand. Then, they are back for more. If you give them a choice of peanuts, they are just like people; they will choose the biggest and the best.
The Florida scrub habitat, where the scrub jay lives, is one of the most endangered ecosystems in all of North America. Urbanization is destroying and fragmenting the scrub jay habitat, while other factors such as pesticides, busy roads, and house pets become a serious threat to the jaysí reproduction and survival. They are faithful to their original territory and once that territory is destroyed, they do not relocate.
They mate for life. A breeding pair establishes a territory of about twenty-five acres, which they protect from other jays and predators. They build a nest, which looks like a shallow basket of twigs and palmetto fibers, about eight feet above the ground and raise one or two broods from clutches of three to four eggs in a year.
The hatchlings stay around to help feed the next brood and stand watch for predators. They always post a sentinel high in a tree to watch and sound an alarm when a predator enters their territory. Families stay together in the same territory for many years.
They like to eat acorns, of course; a single jay is likely to consume over 7,000 a year. Lots of other food is available in the scrub woods---berries, seeds, insects and spiders, even tree frogs, lizards and small snakes.
Scientists at Archbold Biological Station, eight miles south of Lake Placid, carefully watch this endangered species. On-going scrub research has spanned nearly sixty years of our history and continues today. The state of Florida and some private conservationist groups are setting aside as much scrub woods as possible to help ensure that this friendly little ambassador continues to welcome visitors.
|Keith Goodson||18 N. Oak - Chamber of Commerce||N/A|
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