Florida Scrub-jays, our state's only endemic species, are high up there on my list of favorite species. These beautiful birds are bold, social, charismatic, and usually quite entertaining. Add a handful of spunky juveniles to the mix and your sure to see some interesting behaviors.
|juvenile Florida Scrub-jay|
I often go for walks at a local small sanctuary that has several colonies of Scrub-jays. This summer there were several juveniles that made regular appearances on the trails. These jays are known to find you before you have a chance to find them.
Like most juveniles, these jays make their needs known, loud and clear. As this youngster called from the trail, an adult quickly appeared with a small bug.
Apparently it wasn't enough to satisfy this growing bird.
These two juveniles were having a spat over an acorn.
The attempted acorn swindler decided it really didn't want the acorn after all.
On several occasions, I've seen young Scrub-jays feeding other juveniles. This behavior is part of the social system this species employs. Unlike Western Scrub-jays, Florida Scrub-jays often utilize a cooperative breeding system. This involves young jays, often from the previous brood, acting as helpers to the breeding pair. This help can include feeding the young and protecting the territory.