Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
Perhaps the tamest bird in North America, Florida scrub jays can be tempted to take peanuts from your fingers. These two know the photographer has some goobers somewhere! The Florida scrub jay is the only bird species confined entirely to the state of Florida. It occurs in scrubs along the Atlantic coast, the lower Gulf Coast, and in the interior of the Florida peninsula. Scrub jays are similar to blue jays, but lack a crest. Florida scrub jays usually live in small family groups, called clans, consisting of the male and female and one or more related "helpers" who assist with defending the territory and feeding nestlings. When they can't get peanuts, scrub jays forage for small fruits, insects and especially acorns, burying many in the sand for later use. The Florida scrub jay is protected by the US as a Threatened Species, but still is declining in numbers because of habitat loss. You can meet these inquisitive scrub sentinels at Lake Kissimmee State Park, Archbold Biological station and many of the campgrounds in Ocala National Forest.