Title: Distribution, habitat, and social organization of the Florida scrub jay
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098623/00001
 Material Information
Title: Distribution, habitat, and social organization of the Florida scrub jay with a discussion of the evolution of cooperative breeding in new world jays
Physical Description: viii, 259 leaves : ill., maps ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cox, Jeffrey A., 1954-
Publication Date: 1984
Copyright Date: 1984
Subjects / Keywords: Florida scrub jay   ( lcsh )
Jays   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1984.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 211-224).
Statement of Responsibility: by Jeffrey A. Cox.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098623
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000447020
oclc - 11386586
notis - ACK8308

Full Text







To my wife,
Cristy Ann


I thank the following people who provided information on the

distribution of Florida Scrub Jays or other forms of assistance: K.

Alvarez, M. Allen, P. C. Anderson, T. H. Below, C. W. Biggs, B. B.

Black, M. C. Bowman, R. J. Brady, D. R. Breininger, G. Bretz, D.

Brigham, P. Brodkorb, J. Brooks, M. Brothers, R. Brown, M. R. Browning,

S. Burr, B. S. Burton, P. Carrington, K. Carstens, S. L. Cawley, Mrs.

T. S. Christensen, E. S. Clark, J. L. Clutts, A. Conner, W. Courser, J.

Cox, R. Crawford, H. Cruickshank, E. Cutlip, J. Cutlip, R. Delotelle,

M. DeRonde, C. Dickard, W. and H. Dowling, T. Engstrom, S. B. Fickett,

J. W. Fitzpatrick, K. Forrest, D. Freeman, D. D. Fulghum, K. L.

Garrett, C. Geanangel, W. George, T. Gilbert, D. Goodwin, J. Greene, S.

A. Grimes, W. Hale, F. Hames, J. Hanvey, F. W. Harden, J. W. Hardy, G.

B. Hemingway, Jr., 0. Hewitt, B. Humphreys, A. D. Jacobberger, A. F.

Johnson, J. B. Johnson, H. W. Kale II, L. Kiff, J. N. Layne, R. Lee, R.

Loftin, F. E. Lohrer, J. Loughlin, the late C. R. Mason, J. McKinley,

J. R. Miller, R. R. Miller, B. L. Mink, K. Morgan, K. Morrison, M.

Mullis, R. Mumme, J. Naylor, D. Nelson, S. A. Nesbitt, H. J. Nett, D).

M. Niles, 0. Owre, R. Payne, J. K. Pearlman, C. H. Plockelman, M.

Plymire, J. and H. Quincy, G. Raweliffe, C. F. and J. T. Reinholtz, J.

V. Remsen, R. W. Repenning, H. Rivers, R. E. Roberts, L. R. Salata, J.

F. Sandella, J. Schonewald, J. Sharpe, M. Simons, L. F. Snyder, S. D.


Stedman, H. M. Stevenson, J. Stevenson, Mrs. E. H. Stickney, I. J.

Stout, P. W. Sykes, J. G. Taylor, Jr., W. K. Taylor, C. Thorndike, M.

B. Trautman, D. K. Voigts, L. H. Walkinshaw, T. Webber, M. Welton, L.

E. Williams, Jr., and G. E. Woolfenden. Special thanks go to J. N.

Layne for permitting to me work at Archbold Biological Station, and to

the staffs of the Lake George and Seminole Ranger Districts (listed

individually above), Ocala National Forest, for permission to work in

the Forest and other assistance. J. W. Hardy, H. W. Kale II, T.

Webber, K. Winnett-Murray, and the members of my committee--M. ~L.

Crump, C. A. Lanciani, J. E. Lloyd, and B. K. McNab--read and commented

on various forms of this manuscript. I extend my deepest appreciation

to J. W. Hardy and to my wife, Cristy Ann Cox, for their continued

support and encouragement. Funds for tais research were provided by

the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the Frank M. Chapman

Memorial Fund of the American Museum of Natural History, and the

Florida Ornithological Society.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .........,................................ iii

ABSTRACT ... . .. ..................................... vii

CHAPTER 1--GENERAL INTRODUCTION ............................ 1


Procedures ..................,........................ 5
County Summaries ...................................... 10
Unspecified Localities ...........................,.. 12
Questionable Localities .........................,... 12
Alachua County ..................................... 16
Brevard County ..................................... 18
Broward County ..................................... 32
Charlotte County ................................... 34
Citrus County ...................................... 36
Clay County .....................................,... 38
Collier County ..................................... 40
Dade County .....................................,... 42
DeSoto County ...................................... 44
Dixie County (see Gilchrist County)
Duval County ....................................... 46
Flagler County ..................................... 48
Gilchrist County .....,.............................. 50
Glades County ...................................... 50
Hardee County ...................................... 53
Hendry County ...................................... 53
Hernando County ...........,......................... 54
Highlands County ................................... 55
Hillsborough County ................................ 59
Indian River County ................................ 61
Lake County ................,...,,,..,............... 63
Lee County ......................................... 66
Levy County ........................................ 68
Manatee County ..................................... 72
Marion County ...................................... 74
Martin County ...................................... 78
Ocala National Forest .............................. 79
Okeechobee County .................................. 86
Orange County ...................................... 86
Osceola County ..................................... 90

Palm Beach County .................................. 90
Panhandle Gulf Coast ............................... 93
Pasco County ................................,....... 94
Pinellas County ......................,.............. 95
Polk County ........................................ 97
Putnam County ...........................,........... 99
St. Johns County ..,................................. 100
St. Lucie County ....,...................,..........., 102
Sarasota County ............,........................ 103
Seminole County .........................,........... 105
Sumter County .....,................................. 106
Volusia County ..................................... 107
Discussion .......................................... 111


Procedures .................,......................... 120
Descriptions of Study Sites ........................... 124
Results ............................................ 127
Discussion ..........................,................ 131

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST ................,.............. 154

Procedures ....,...................................... 157
Results ........................................ .... 157
Discussion ....,...................................... 163
Territory Acquisition .............................. 163
Group Size ......................................... 173


Procedures .......................................... 177
Results ............................................ 179
Discussion ...............................,........... 181

NEW WORLD JAYS ........................................ 194

Social Systems in Aphelocoma .......................... 194
Jays in Disturbed or Changing Habitats .........,....... 198
Is Helping Behavior Normal and Adaptive? .............. 200
Summary and Conclusions ...........,.................... 208

LITERATURE CITED ............................,............. 211

1980-1983 ........................................... 225

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............,............................ 259

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Jeffrey A. Cox

August, 1984

Chairman: John William Hardy
Major Department: Zoology

Florida Scrub Jays (FSJs) have declined significantly in numbers

because of habitat destruction. FSJs have disappeared entirely from

six counties in Florida, and their numbers have decreased substantially

in seven additional counties. I estimated the total population size in

1982 to be 15,330-22,530 birds, of which 13,100-20,310 were on

protected sites. FSJ numbers will continue to decline as the

commercial development of Florida proceeds, but the total population

size should stabilize at about 12,780-19,780 birds in a few decades.

The greatest densities of FSJs are in areas with oak thickets 1-3

m tall covering 50-75% of the ground, 10-50% bare ground, and scattered

small trees. Some FSJ populations, however, are found in areas with

very few oaks, demonstrating their ability to survive in marginal

habitats. Fire is effective, and sometimes essential, in rmaintaining


the habitat in a suitable condition. Mechanical clearing of

vegetation, including clear-cutting in Ocala National Forest (0NF), can

be an effective substitute for fire.

Scrub Jays in ONF inhabit stands of sand pine scrub clearcut from

1965-1978. Clearcuts can support FS~s only from about 3-5 to 12-15

years after clearing. By the time a young male FSJ is old enough to

claim part of his parents' territory, the habitat may no longer be

suitable. Because of the continual creation of new habitat, FSJs in

ONF are found in smaller groups than those at Archbold Biological

Station, Florida.

Blue Jays in Florida typically breed as pairs, but one nest was

found that was attended by two males and one female. Behavior o'f the

adults at this nest suggests that this incident was unusual. Florida

Blue Jays do not defend territories, but have broadly overlapping home


The evolution of cooperative breeding in New ;lorld jays is

discussed. Some of the observed forms of cooperative breeding may not

be adaptive, but represent either responses to life in heavily

disturbed habitats or the expression of normal parental behavior before

a bird becomes a breeder.



Florida is something of a mecca for birdwatchers. Many species of

birds are found in Florida that are found nowhere else in eastern North

America. Among these is the Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens

coerulescens), a disjunct, relict race of a species that is widespread

in the western United States and Mexico.

Florida Scrub Jays are restricted to a distinctive, oak-dominated

shrubby habitat known as the scrub. The scrub itself has little

commercial value, but it occurs in situations that bestow tremendous

value upon it. On the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, much scrub

has been cleared to make way for various types of housing developments:

motels, hotels, condominiums, and apartment complexes. Some scrubs

farther inland have been cleared for housing developments, and many

more have been cleared and replaced with citrus groves. As a result of

widespread habitat destruction, the number of Florida Scrub Jays has

decreased considerably (Woolfenden 1978a).

Florida Scrub Jays are cooperative breeders. In most species of

birds, the young of the year leave their parents as soon as they can

feed themselves. Young Florida Scrub Jays do not soon leave their

parents, but remain with them for 2-5 years and assist in raising their

younger siblings (Woolfenden 1973, 1975, 1981).

This disserta~tion consists of several parts, following a certain

logical sequence. The greatest number of pages (Chapter 2 and Appendixl)

is devoted to an investigation of the extent to which Florida Scrub Jay

populations have declined and their prospects for future survival. I

also investigated the relation between habitat structure and Scrub Jay

population density so that I could make valid recommendations for

managing Florida Scrub Jay populations (Chapter 3). During the course

of that field work, I discovered that Scrub Jays in Ocala National

Forest (ONF) do not occupy stable habitat as they do farther south in

Florida where their social structure has been closely studied. At ONF,

Scrub Jays inhabit areas that were cleared of sand pines roughly 4-15

years ago. Such habitat is transient, forcing Scrub Jays to move from

place to place as the habitat changes. The effects of this transient

habitat on Scrub Jay behavior are discussed in Chapter 4.

Cooperative breeding by New World jays has attracted considerable

attention in recent years. Besides the Scrub Jay, one other species of

jay is found in Florida--the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). As an

outgrowth of my interest in Scrub Jays, I undertook a limited study of

Blue Jay behavioral ecology, to determine the breeding system of Blue

Jays at Gainesville, Florida (Chapter 5).

Finally, I have reviewed certain aspects of habitat use and

demography in New World jays in an effort to understand the evolution of

social behavior in these birds (Chapter 6). This chapter pulls together

information from the preceding parts of this dissertation along with

information obtained from the literature on other jay species.


The Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens coerulescens) is

aptly named, as it has only once been positively recorded outside of

Florida (on Jekyll Island, Georgia; Moore 1975) and is only

occasionally seen away from the Florida scrub habitat (Sprunt 1946;

Westcott 1970; Uoolfenden 1973; pers. obs.). Sprunt (1946) wrote that

the Scrub Jay "is so partial to the vegetation it inhabits that it is

utterly useless to look for it anywhere else" (p. 78). The Florida

Scrub Jay is the only bird that is restricted to the Florida scrub.

Florida Scrub Jays have probably been decreasing in numbers since

Europeans first settled Florida, but the decline was first noted by

Byrd (1927) and Grimes (1940). Since then, several authors have

commented on the decline (Grimes 1943; Early 1952; Longstreet

1954; Sprunt 1954, 1958; Brigham 1973; Austin 1976; Uoolfenden

1978a; Cruickshank 1980). The Florida Scrub Jay is listed as

"Threatened" by both the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered

Plants and Animals (Kale 1978a) and the Florida Game and Fresh Water

Fish Comrmission (FGFWFC 1981), but the extent of the decline has been


This study was undertaken to determine the past and present

distributions of the Florida Scrub Jay and prospects for its continued

exis tence.

In general, Scrub Jay habitat consists of dense thickets of oaks

less than 3 m in height, interspersed with bare sand where the jays

cache acorns and forage for other food items (Westcott 1970; Woolfenden

1973; pers. obs.).

The scrub habitat occurs only on fine, white, well drained sands.

This type of sand occurs along present coastlines in Florida and in

dunes deposited during the past when sea levels were much higher than

at present (Laessle 1958, 1968). The most important ancient dune

systems are found near the 30-foot, 100-foot, and 150-foot contour

levels and include the Atlantic coastal ridge along the Atlantic coast

of Plorida, the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands Counties, and

the extensive sand dunes of Ocala National Forest.

Scrub occurs as a variety of plants associations, and a variety of

names has been used by different authors to describe the different

associa tions. The type of scrub most commonly occupied by Scrub Jays I

call oak scrub. It consists of a single layer of evergreen shrubs,

usually dominated by three species of oaks--myrrle oak (Quercus

myrtifolia), sand live oak (Q. geminata), and Chapman oak

(Q. chapmanii). I refer to these three species collectively as scrub

oaks. Other species common in oak scrub include crookedwood (Lyonia

ferruginea), silkbay (Persea humilis), rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides),

scrub palmetto (Sabal etonia), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), and

Garberia fruticosa (no common name). Trees and herbaceous vegetation

are lacking in oak scrub, which was referred to as "scrubby flatwoods"

by Laessle (1942) and Woolfenden (1969, 1970, 1973). Sand pine scrub

and slash pine scrub have shrub layers like that of oak scrub, plus

canopies of trees, either sand pine (Pinus clausa) or slash pine

(P. elliottii). Open sand pine or slash pine scrub has less than 50%

canopy cover by trees over 3 m tall. Scrub Jays are rarely found as

residents in habitats with more than about 50% canopy cover. Turkey

oak serub, palmetto scrub, and rosemary scrub are oak scrubs with large

numbers of turkey oaks (Q. laevis), palmettoes, and rosemary bushes,


I. J. Stout (MS) mapped the terrestrial plant communities of

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Canaveral Air Force

Station and classified Scrub Jay habitats as "flatwoods," "coastal

scrub," and "coastal strand." "Flatwoods" have most of the same plant

species as oak scrub, but herbs are frequent and slash pines may or may

not be present. "Coastal scrub" is dense oak scrub dominated by myrtle

oak. "Coastal strand" is a narrow band of vegetation found just behind

the beachfront dunes; it is similar to coastal scrub but is dominated

by saw palmetto.

Austin (1976) provides a good, general overview of the scrub

vegetation and its associated animals. More detailed discussions may

be found in Harper (1913, 1915, 1921, 1927), Laessle (1942, 1958,

1968), and Veno (1976).


The historical distribution of Scrub Jays in Florida was assessed

in several ways, listed below:

1) An extensive literature search was made, including a survey of

Christmas Bird Counts published in Bird-Lore (1901-1940), Audubon

(1941-1944), Audubon Field Notes (1947-1970), and American Birds

(1971-1983). Since the counts are easily found in these journals, I

have not provided references for them in the Literature Cited section.

2) Major ornithological collections in the United States were

contacted to determine how many Scrub Jay specimens (study skins,

skeletons, and alcohol-preserved specimens) and egg sets were held in

each collection, as well as the date and location of collection of each

specimen or egg set. Information on 700 specimens and 252 egg sets was

obtained from the following collections (the person who provided me

with the information on each collection is listed in parentheses after

the name of the collection): Academy of Natural Sciences,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (J. W. Hardy); American Museum of Natural

History, New York City, New York (J. W. Hardy); Pierce Brodkorb

collection, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (J. A. C.);

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California

(J. Schonewald); Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania (J. Loughlin); The Charleston Museum, Charleston, South

Carolina (J. K. Pearlman); Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant,

Michigan (C. W. Biggs); Delaware Museum of Natural History, Greenville,

Delaware (D. M. Niles); Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago,

Illinois (J. W. Fitzpatrick); Florida State Museum, Gainesville,

Florida (J. A. C.); Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los

Angeles, California (K. L. Garrett); Louisiana State University Museum

of Zoology, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (J. V. Remsen); Museum of

Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

(C. W. Biggs); Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California,

Berkeley, Calif'ornia (A. D. Jacobberger); Ohio State University Museum

of Zoology, Columbus, Ohio (M. B. Trautman); Peabody Museum of Natural

History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (E. H. Stickney); Tall

Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida (H. M. Stevenson);

United States National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

(M. R. Browning); University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

(W. K. Taylor); University of Kansas Museum of Natural History,

Lawrence, Kansas (J. A. C.); University of Miami Research Collection,

Coral Gables, Florida (C. W. Biggs); University of Michigan Museum of

Zoology, Ann Arbor, Michigan (D. Nelson); Virginia Polytechnic

Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia (T. Webber);

Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Los Angeles, California

(L. Kiff); Glen E. Woolfenden collection, University of South Florida,

Tampa, Florida (G. E. Woolfenden). The museum survey was not

exhaustive; after a certain point, further searching failed to reveal

new localities.

3) I obtained the results of Florida Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS)

from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The BBS program in Florida

began in 1966. A BBS consists of a 24 and 1/2 mile route with 50 stops

placed at one-half mile intervals. Beginning 30 min before sunrise, an

observer drives the route, recording birds seen or heard in one 3-min

period at each stop. Observers and car odometers vary, so stops are

not always made at the same locations each year. Therefore, locations

where Scrub Jays have been reported on Breeding Bird Surveys are only


4) Chandler S. Robbins provided me with copies of the Bureau of

the Biological Survey (now U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service) files on

Florida Scrub Jays. The files are kept at Patuxent, Maryland. The

files were used by Howell (1932) in compiling the species accounts in

Florida Bird Life. Included in them are an extensive set of literature

citations, as well as numerous unpublished records of Scrub Jays from

the field notes of various Biological Survey biologists and references

from conversations and correspondence of the biologists with other

people. These reports are referred to in the text as the Biological

Survey files (abbreviated Biol Sury. files).

5) A survey was made of members of the Florida Ornithological

Society in fall, 1980, to obtain information regarding the present

distribution of Florida Scrub Jays. Some members, on their own time

and at their own expense, made extensive searches for Scrub Jays in

their areas. Other members provided locality information, or

information concerning the past distribution of Scrub Jays. All. of

this information was most helpful.

In 1981, I conducted an extensive field survey of Florida Scrub

Jay dis tribu tion. I tried to visit all locations at which Scrub Jays

were known or suspected to exist, and discovered several new

populations in the process. I also visited areas from which Scrub Jays

were known to have been extirpated already and scrub sites from which

Scrub Jays had never been reported. This survey forms the primary

basis for the county-by-county summaries that follow.

Because of the limited amount of time in which to cover most of

the Florida peninsula, most of the survey was conducted along public

roads and highways. The usual survey technique involved walking or

driving slowly, playing a tape recording of Scrub Jays "screech scolds"

(Barbour 1977). Tihe scold notes are given by Scrub Jays when they see

snakes, and other snakes typically respond by flying rapidly to the

site of the calls and mobbing excitedly. By playing the tape, I could

sometimes attract jays from a distance of 500 feet, greatly

facilitating the survey. Without the recordings, the survey would have

been inefficient and exceedingly time-consuming. I played the tape

whenever I encountered habitat potentially suitable for Scrub Jays. If

jays appeared quickly, I counted them and moved to another location.

If no jays appeared, but the habitat looked like good Scrub Jay

habitat, I played the tape for 10-15 minutes and tried to visit that

spot again before concluding that no jays were present in the area.

No doubt I missed Scrub Jays entirely in some places where they

are present. I suspect, however, that the number of such places is

low. Some Scrub Jays live in inaccessible locations, but few large

areas of scrub are entirely inaccessible. I am confident that I missed

few large populations, although I may have missed many small ones.

Therefore, I have used terms such as "probably," "maybe," and "likely"

throughout this paper. It is simply not possible to conduct in one

year an absolutely complete survey of a species present in as many

widely scattered locations as the Florida Scrub Jay.

I urge ornithologists and birdwatchers in Florida to search for

Scrub Jays in places where I failed to find any and where apparently

suitable habitat still exists. If Scrub Jays are found in locations

not mentioned in this report, please contact the author, or the Curator

of Ornithology, Florida State Museum, University of Florida,

Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA. Reports are also requested concerning

populations that have been extirpated.

County Surmmaries

The summaries that follow provide detailed analyses of the status

of Scrub Jays in each Florida county from which they have been

reported. Figure 1 shows locations of counties from which Scrub Jays

have been reported. Specific site locations are given in the Appendix.

Sites listed in the Appendix are referred to in the text by the county

name and a number. The cities and towns under which the sites are

listed in the Appendix can be found on the Florida highway map

published by the American Automobile Association. I have provided road

directions, as well as Township, Range, and Section numbers, for each

site, to ensure that they can be relocated in the future by other


I have also included a paragraph about specimens for which

locations are too vague to assign to any one county. There are also

reports of Scrub Jays from several localities that I find questionable,

and I have included a discussion of those records.

Although metric measurements have become the standard in

scientific publications, I have given road distances in miles, for two

reasons: 1) most car odometers read in miles; and 2) virtually all

maps show distances in miles. Furthermore, the Township, Range, and

Section system of land mapping uses the mile as its standard unit of

measurement. The use of miles in road directions will facilitate the

location of most sites. All other measurements are given in metric


Abbreviations used frequently in the county summaries and in the

Appendix are as follows: N, S, E, rJ, NE, SE, SW, NV--compass


Figure 1. Locations of Florida counties from which Florida Scrub
Jays have been reported. 1--Alachua Co.; 2--Brevard Co.; 3--Broward
Co.; 4--Charlotte Co.; 5--Citrus Co.; 6--Clay Co.; 7--Collier Co.;
8--Dade Co.; 9--DeSoto Co.; 10--Duval Co.; 11--Flagler Co.;
12--Gilchrist Co.; 13--Clades Co.; 14--Hardee Co.; 15--Hendry Co.;
16--Hernando Co.; 17--Highlands Co.; 18--Hillsborough Co.; 19--Indian
River Co.; 20--Lake Co.; 21--Lee Co.; 22--Levy Co.; 23--Manatee Co.;
24--Marion Co.; 25--M~artin Co.; 26--0keechobee Co.; 27--Orange Co.;
28--0sceola Co.; 29--Palm Beach Co.; 30--Pasco Co.; 31--Pinellas Co.;
32--Polk Co.; 33--Putnam Co.; 34--St. Johns Co.; 35--St. Lucie Co.;
36--Sarasota Co.; 37--Seminole Co.; 38--Sumter Co.; 39--Volusia Co.

directions; SR (number)--state highway (route) number; FR (number)--

Forest Service road number (Ocala National Forest); US (number)--

United States Highway number; SCL RR--Seaboard Coast Line Railway; FEC

RR--Florida East Coast Railway; ad--adult-plumaged Scrub Jay (blue

head); juv--juvenile Scrub Jay (brown head); in litt.--in a letter.

The "center" of a section refers to an area nearly equidistant from all

sides; the "middle" of a section refers to a transect across the

section in the specified direction.

Unspecified Localities

For 17 Scrub Jay specimens collected from 1872 to 1962, the only

location given is "Florida." Specimens from the following locations

could be from any of the counties listed after them in parentheses:

Indian River, 16 specimens, 1875-1920 (Brevard, Volusia, Indian River,

St. Lucie, or Martin); Anclote River, 1 specimen, 1874 (Pasco or

Pinellas); upper St. Johns River, 2 specimens, 1887 (Volusia, Lake,

Seminole, Brevard, or Orange); Lake Harney, I specimen, 1887 (Volusia

or Seminole); Big Lake George, 4 specimens, 1885-86 (Marion, Putman,

Lake, or Volusia); Withlacoochee River, 1 specimen, 1929 (Citrus,

Hernando, Lake, Levy, Marion, Pasco, Polk, or Sumter); and near Shiloh,

5 specimens in 1947, and 2 egg sets in 1967 and 1968 (Brevard or


Questionable Localities

There are two egg sets that, according to the labels, were

collected in Leon County (no more specific location was given for

either set): Field Museum of Natural History, catalog number 1408, 4

eggs, collected by L. Whitfield, no date given; and Peabody Museum of

Natural History, no catalog number, 4 eggs, collected 21 May 1894 by

R. W. Williamns, Jr. J. W. Fitzpatrick (in litt.) has examined the egg

set at the Field Museum, and states that the eggs "are those of Florida

Scrub Jay," but H. M. Stevenson (in litt.) feels that the eggs may be

Blue Jay eggs. Mrs. E. H. Stickney (in litt.) has examined the eggs at

the Peabody Museum, and feels that they are those of a Blue Jay.

R. W. Williams, the collector of the Peabody set, later published

several papers on the birds of Leon Co. (Williams 1904, 1906, 1907,

1914, 1928, 1929). In none of those papers did he mention Scrub

Jays; he obviously rejected as false his own Leon Co. Scrub Jay record.

Bartsch (1917) reported the "Florida Jay" from Rockdale, Dade Co.,

on 24 June 1916. There were some patches of serub, or at least oak

thickets, as far south as Florida City (D. F. Austin, in litt.). No

one else has reported Scrub Jays from that far south, however, so

Bartsch's record deserves further scrutiny. Bartsch had made 3

previous trips to south Florida, and on each trip he kept a list of

birds observed (Bartsch 1914, 1915, 1916). In the reports on trips

after the first one, he made separate lists of species not observed on

previous trips. The "Florida Jay" was not listed among the new birds

seen in 1916, nor had it been reported from any of the previous trips.

Furthermore, Bartsch (1917) reported a "total list of 54 species"

(p. 182). On pp. 187-188, he listed the scientific names of all birds

seen; that list totals 54 species, but does not include Aphelocoma

caerulescens, or any of its synonyms. The "Florida Blue Jay" is not

among the birds Bartsch (1917) reported from Rockdale in 1916. It: is


possible that Bartsch did see a Scrub Jay at Rockdale, but it is just

as likely that the report of a "Florida Jay" from Rockdale in 1916 is

in error--the result of the accidental deletion of one word--and that

the bird actually seen was a Florida Blue Jay.

Crichlow (1928) reported Scrub Jays from several locations not

mentioned by anyone else: "Nassau County (near Fernandina on the

beach), .. Volusia County (Ortona .. ), .. Dade County

(. . Cocoanut [sic] Grove), Citrus County (. . Lecanto)" (p. 51).

Crichlow further stated that Scrub Jays were nowhere found more than 3

miles inland (even though LeCanto is ten miles inland). There is a

town of Ortona in Glades Co., and Scrub Jays live near there; I have

been unable to locate an Ortona in Volusia Co. Fernandina Beach is 15

miles farther north than the northernmost location reported by anybody

else (the mouth of the St. Johns River). If Rockdale is rejected as a

former location for Scrub Jays, Coconut Grove is about 7 miles farther

south than the next most southern location--~Little River. In the same

article, Crichlow wrote that he had found Gray Kingbirds nesting in

hollow trees and nest boxes--the only record of Gray Kingbirds nesting

in cavities, if true (cf. Sprunt 1942). Howell (1932) listed

Crichlow's paper in the Bibliography to his Florida Bird Life, but did

not list LeCanto, Ortona, Coconut Grove, or Fernandina Beach as Scrub

Jay locations in the text. Apparently, because of the many doubtful

statements in Crichlow's paper, Howell rejected some or all of

Crichlow's data. I have excluded all of Crichlow's locations.

There is one Scrub Jay specimen from Key West, Monroe Co., dated

27 December 1883. There are no other records of Scrub Jays from

anywhere in Monroe County. Key West is 150 miles from North Miami, the

closest likely source of wild birds, so it seems likely that the bird

was an escaped cage bird, as suggested by Pitelka (1951). Audubon

(1840-1844) reported Scrub Jays being kept as cage birds in New

Orleans, lending some credence to that: idea. H. M. Stevenson (in:

litt.) has examined the Key West specimen and says it lacks "the worn

remiges and rectrices characteristic of most caged birds." However,

the bird could have molted after its escape or release, or it may not

have spent much time in captivity. I think it unlikely that Scrub Jays

were ever resident at Key West.

Bendire (1895) wrote that Scrub Jays did not occur "north of Pine

Point .. on the Gulf Coast" (pp. 370-371). Howell (1932) listed

"Pine Point" as a locality for Scrub Jays, and his range map indicates

that he was referring to what is now called "Piney Point" in Taylor

County. I have examined the Scrub Jay records in the files used by

Howell in writing Florida Bird Life. The files include a card for

Bendire (1895), mentioning "Pine Point," but there is no other

reference in the file to Pine Point or Piney Point. I presume, tben,

that Bendire (1895) was Howell's only source for "Pine Point." Sprunt

(1946) also stated that Scrub Jays were present up to Pine Point, just

north of the mouth of the Suwannee River. I presume again that Sprunt

was only following Bendire (1895) and Howell (1932) in listing Pine

Poin t.

There is some scrub near Piney Point, Taylor Co., but I know of no

definite records of Scrub Jays from Piney Point or anywhere else in

Taylor County. There are, in fact, many "Pine Points" and "Piney

Points" scattered all along the west coast of Florida. It is debatable

to which Pine Point Bendire (1895) referred. I recommend, therefore,

that Taylor County be excluded from the known historical range of Scrub

Jays until definite evidence of their existence there comes to light.

Alachua County (Figure 2)

His torical. Baynard (1913) reported that Scrub Jays were very

rare within 20 miles of his Micanopy home and that he had only once

found them nesting in Alachua Co. Four Scrub Jays were collected 2

miles south of Cross Creek in 1963. The Cross Creek location is within

20 miles of Micanopy and may be the place where Baynard had found Scrub

Jays. Howell (1932) reported that Scrub Jays were found at Micanopy,

and Sprunt (1946) reported Scrub Jays north to Gainesville. I suspect

that both of those writers were referring to Baynard's (1913) paper,

and that the exact location in question is, in fact, the Cross Creek


Fossil remains of Scrub Jays have been found in late Pleistocene

deposits near Arredondo (Brodkorb 1959) and Haile (Ligon 1965). There

is at present no scrub within several miles of either of those

locations. The fossils indicate that Scrub Jays and, presumably, the

scrub itself, were more widespread in north-central Florida several

thousand years ago.

Present. I made several visits in 1980 and 1981 to the location 2

miles south of Cross Creek; on none of them did I find Scrub Jays. The

small area of scrub there is now quite overgrown and dense, apparently

due to the absence of fire, and appears unsuitable for Scrub Jays.

Figure 2. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Alachua (right) and
Gilchrist (left) Counties, Florida. Square--location of Scrub Jay
population, 1980-1983 (number refers to list of sites in Appendix);
triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circles--other towns and cities.

There is one locality in Alachua Co. where I found Scrub Jays in

1981--on the Levy Co. line, west of Archer (Alachua Co. 1; this site is

adjacent to Levy Co. 1). This small tract of atypical turkey oak scrub

apparently supported a single family of jays in 1981 and was gradually

being cleared by its owner. It is likely that in a few years no Scrub

Jays will remain in Alachua Co.

Brevard County (Figure 3)

His torical. Scrub Jays have been reported in the ornithological

literature from the following locations in Brevard Co.: Cape Canaveral

(Hoxie 1889; Howell 1932); Dummitt's (south of Haulover Canal; Allen

1871); Eau Gallie (Howell 1932); Georgiana (Howell 1932); Indian River

City (Sprunt 1946); Melbourne (Brookfield 1949); Merritt Island (Spruat

1946); Micco (Baker 1889); Titusville (Jackson 1887; Bendire 1895); and

Wilson (Howell 1932). Maynard (1881) reported that Scrub Jays were

common east of the Indian River, south at least to Merritt Island.

Hoxie (1889) stated that Scrub Jays were fairly common within 2-3 miles

of Cape Canaveral. R. Schroder (in Sprunt 1946) stated that he had

found more Scrub Jays on. Merritt Island than anywhere else in th~e

state. Sprunt (1946) suggested that the best place to study them would

be in the narrow strip of scrub between the Indian River and the

Florida East Coast Railway tracks, especially south of Indian River

City. Brookfield (1949) wrote that Scrub Jays were "gratifyingly

numerous along the coast" in the Melbourne area.

Christmas Bird Counts conducted in the Titusville-Merritt Island

National Wildlife Refuge area since 1934 show a maximum of 25'3 Scrub




31 A


Cocoat Merritt I~land
Ag~ 17-18
i Cocoa Beach

27g 10 mi


13 gli
Melbourne 814


35 7-8i,
20 24-2~

Figure 3. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Brevard County, Florida.
Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers
refer to list of sites in Appendix); triangles--former Scrub Jay
populations; circles--other towns and cities.

Jays in 1975. Most of those counts, however, have recorded fewer than

100 jays. Christmas counts made at Cocoa from 1951-1982 reached a high

of 106 Scrub Jays in 1957, but no more than 33 jays have been counted

since 1973. Christmas counts in South Brevard Co. (Micco area, but

including parts of Indian River Co.) from 1966-1982 showed highs of 41

Scrub Jays in 1970 and 1973. Some of the birds in each year were seen

in Indian River Co. Only 2 jays were seen on the 1982 count.

At least 159 specimens and 134 egg sets of Scrub Jays have been

collected in Brevard Co. Information on the skins and skeletons is

summarized in Table 1, and egg set data are summarized in Table 2.

Totals of 66 specimens and 46 egg sets were collected on the

mainland; the remainder were collected on M~erritt Island or the barrier

islands. It is apparent from the numbers collected that Scrub Jays In

the past were fairly common at Eau Gallie, Indialantic, Titusville, and

on Merritt Island. Egg sets show a nearly continuous distribution from

Titusville to about 5 miles north of Cocoa.

Scrub Jays were reported on the Scottsmoor Breeding Bird Survey in

1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1977, when jays were seen on stops 41, 42,

45, 48, 49, and 50. All of those stops are in Merritt Island National

Wildlife Refuge, within 2 1/2 miles of the intersection of SR 402 and

Kennedy Parkway North.

There are several Brevard Co. records of Scrub Jays in the

Biological Survey files. D. J. Nicholson wrote in 1926 that Scrub Jays

were abundant from "Point Canaveral to Cocoa Beach .. about 75 seen

in 2 miles on the beach between Banana River and the ocean." Other

locations and dates of Scrub Jay records in th1e Biological Survey files

Table 1. Locations, dates, and numbers of Scrub Jay specimens (study
skins plus skeletons) collected in Brevard Co., Florida.

1860- 1900- 1940-
1899 1939 1979

no date Totals

Banana Creek
Banana River
Cape Canaveral
Eau Gallie
Indian Harbor Beach
Indian River City
near Malabar
Merritt Island

2 12

41 68 43

7 159



Table 2. Locations, dates, and numbers of Scrub Jay egg sets
collected in Brevard Co., Florida.

1870- 1910- 1950- no date Total
1909 1949 1979

Haulover Canal 1 2 3
Banana Creek 2 2
Banana River 3 1 4
5 mis N 1 2 3
4-4.5 mis S 2 2
6 mis S 1 1
between Cocoa and
Indian River City 1 1
Courtenay 2 2
3 mis N 2 2
4-4.5 mis N 3 3
Delespine 3 3
1 mi N 2 2
2 mis S 1 1 2
3 mis S 1 1
4 mis S 1 1 2
Eau Callie 1 1
Haulover Canal,
2 mis S 1 1
Indialantic 13 13
Indian River City,
at and near 2 2 4
Indian River City,
1 mi N 1 1
Indian River City,
1 mi W 2 2
Indian River City,
2 mis W 1 1
Indian River City,
3 mis W 1 1
Indian River City,
2 mis S 2 2
Melbourne 1 1
Merritt Island,
opposite Titusville 1 1

Table 2, continued.

1870- 1910- 1950- no date Total
1909 1949 1979

Merritt Island,
between SR 520 & 528 2 2
Merritt Island,
S of SR 520 3 3
Merritt Island,
unspecified 4 22 26
Palm Bay (near) 1 1
Titusville 1 11 1 1
2 mis S 3 3
3-4 mis NE 6 6
12 mis E 5 5
at and near 6 3 9
2 mis E 1 1
6 mis S 1 1
8 mis S 1 1
unspecified 2 2


include Melbourne, 1889 (M. M. Green); Titusville, 1888 (W. Hoxie); 3

miles west of Titusville, 1889 (M. M. Green); and Melbourne Beach, 1917

(F. Harper).

Cruickshank (1980) stated that Scrub Jay numbers in Brevard

Co. have declined sharply since 1955 due to habitat destruction, but he

added that Scrub Jays remain common in undeveloped portions of the

county, especially on Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island.

On the data sheet for a set of Scrub Jay eggs he collected 21

March 1960 in Titusville, D. J. Nicholson wrote that the nest was found

in a 5-acre scrub "across the street from a row of occupied

houses .. (t]he last stronghold of this fine jay in Titusville,

when once, only a few short years ago, these jays were very abundant in

Titusville, but no longer!" He added a brief note that the clearing of

scrub for houses "shall mean the end to all our Florida jays."

R. Brown (fy Cleveland 1980) suggested that there may have been as

many as 20 pairs of Scrub Jays in Melbourne Beach prior to the clearing

of land for Spessard Holland Golf Course.

J. B. Johnson, who has lived in Brevard Co. since the 1950's,

indicates (in litt.) that Scrub Jays were fairly common around the

towns of Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, and MIerritt Island in the 1950's. He

thinks that the number of jays may have decreased by as much as 90% in

those areas, due to development. He has been unable to find any Scrub

Jays on Merritt Island west of Sykes Creek and Newfound Harbor, and

south of SR 528, for several years.

A tLract of scrub that supported a few Scrub Jays on Barnes Blvd,

west of US 1 in Rockledge was cleared in 1982 (H. Cruickshank, in


Present. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR; Brevard

Co. 19), which contains Kennedy Space Center, was censused by

L. R. Salata (MS), who estimated that there are between 2600 and 4800

jays on the refuge (Table 3). He censused birds by playback of Scrub

Jay alarm calls at several points along each of 17 transects in

different habitats with Scrub Jays. He sampled each transect 7 times,

and calculated densities using the maximum number of birds seen on each

transect on any of the sample dates. Using maxima might overestimate

the true density, since it might include some birds from outside the

census areas. That problem is at least partly countered, however, by

the fact that Salata played the tape for only 2 min at stops 150 m

apart. Some birds may have been missed between stops, and 2 min is not

always enough time for Scrub Jays to respond to a tape recording

(pers. obs.). His maximum population estimate was obtained under the

assumption that he counted all birds present within a transect 336 m

wide; the minimum estimate used a transect width of 524 m. Although

some jays will respond from the edges of transects of that width, I

think it is unlikely that all birds within even 168 m would have been

attracted to the source of the calls. Salata may have underestimated

the number of Scrub Jays at MINWR, possibly severely so.

Breininger (1981) also censused Scrub Jays at MINWR as part of a

study to determine the preferred habitats of Scrub Jays there. He used

three methods to estimate jay densities; I shall consider only two of

those methods here. (Results of the three methods were generally

similar.) The first method, the "Alarm Call method", was similar to

that used by Salata (MS): Jays were attracted to be counted by


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playback of tape-recorded Scrub Jay alarm calls. Unlike Sala ta,

however, Breininger felt that he was able to count all jays within a

distance of only 40 m. That difference alone would create a fourfold

difference in density estimates. Breininger also used the Fourier

series method of Burnham et al. (1980) to estimate Scrub Jay densities

along most of the same transects and a few additional ones. This

method uses the distance from the transect center line at which each

bird was sighted to estimate population density in a more objective

manner than the Alarm Call method. Using the initials of the three

authors of the paper (Burnham, Anderson, and Laake), this method is

referred to as the BAL method.

In Table 3, I have presented the densities of Scrub Jays in three

different habitats at MINWR, as calculated by Salata (MCS), Breininger's

(1981) Alarm Call method, and Breininger's BAL method. Salata (MS)

also measured the areas covered by each of those habitats from a

vegetation map of MINWR (Stout MS). The habitat areas are given in

Table 3, and permit one to calculate the total number of Scrub Jays at

MINWR. I have also recalculated population densities from Salata's

data, using a transect width of 80 m instead of 336 or 524 m, and the

mean number of birds seen per census. There is a large discrepancy

between Salata's original population estimates and the estimates

derived from Breininger's (1981) density estimates, or the revised

Salata densities. There are few differences, however, between the two

sets of Breininger's figures.

Breininger (1981) had six transects on which he estimated Scrub

Jay densities >80 birds/40 ha. These are by far the highest densities

ever reported for Florida Scrub Jays. The highest density Salata (MS)

found was about 23.0 birds/40 ha. In several inland sites, the highest

density I found was 23.6 birds/40 ha. At Archbold Biological Station,

Highlands Co., Florida--the site of an intensive, long-term study of

Scrub Jay biology--the density is only about 10 birds/40 ha

(Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick MS). Breininger (pers. comm.) has

collected further data that corroborate his earlier finding of

densities over 80 birds/40 ha. He is not certain, however, about how

widespread the very high densities are. His transects were not

randomly located in all available habitat, although they did represent

a wide range of Scrub Jay habitats. It is likely that the very high

densities he found in some areas are restricted to a few local areas

(see Chapter 3). The actual average density of Scrub Jays at MINWR is

therefore probably somewhat less than the simple average of the

densities given by Breininger (1981), but it cannot be determined at

this time. As a partial solution to this dilemma, I have taken the

means of the highest and lowest densities reported for each habitat.

For oak scrub (= flatwoods of Salata and Breininger), the figure is

(7.7+48.0)/2 = 27.8 birds/40 ha, for a total of 5873 Scrub Jays. For

coastal scrub, the mean is (12.6+70.6)/2 = 41.6 birds/40 ha, or 2727

Scrub Jays. For coastal strand, the mean is (7.8+79.0)/2 = 43.4

birds/40 ha, or 411 Scrub Jays. The grand total is 9011 Scrub Jays.

Finally, it is necessary to take into account: the amount of habitat

that has been cleared for Kennedy Space Center. From aerial

photographs taken in 1979, it appears that about 10% of the scrub at

MINWR has been cleared. Deducting 10% from 9011, I arrive at a total

population size of about 8100 Scrub Jays. Because of the way it was

calculated, that figure must be considered a very rough estimate, and

it could be off by 25% (or more) in either direction, so I will use a

figure of 6000-10,000 jays at MINWR.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a program of

controlled burning of all scrub at MINWR. Unless it occurs too often,

fire helps to maintain the suitability of scrub for Scrub Jays (see

Chap ter 3 ). If the entire refuge is not burned more frequently than

every 6-9 years, the total number of Scrub Jays should not change much

from its 1980 level, although expansion of Kennedy Space Center

facilities will cause the destruction of some Scrub Jay habitat.

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) is covered predominantly

by coastal scrub and coastal strand habitats similar to those at MINWRZ.

CCAFS is adjacent to MINWR, and I have assumed that Scrub Jay densities

are the same at CCAFS as in the similar habitats at MINWR. Density

estimates and habitat areas are shown in Table 4. Densities for the

two habitats under each estimation method are the same as those in

Table 3. Using a polar planimeter, I measured the habitat areas from a

vegetation map of MINWR and CCAFS (Stout MS). Total population

estimates range from 1654 to 9522 Scrub Jays, but the problems

discussed above, with regard to MINWR, apply here also. Using the

means of the high and low density estimates for each habitat, I derive

a total of 4914 Scrub Jays in coastal scrub, and 921 jays in coastal

strand, for a grand total of 5835 Scrub Jays at CCAFS. The scrub at

CCAFS has suffered relatively more clearing than that at MINWR. Aga in

using 1979 aerial photographs, it appears that about 20?% of CCAFS has




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am HU



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been cleared. Accordingly, the grand total at CCAFS is reduced to 4668

Scrub Jays. That figure, like the one of 8110 birds at MINUJR, might be

off by 25% in either direction, so I will use a figure of 3600-6000

birds. Habitat clearing for construction in the future will decrease

the number of birds somewhat.

Outside of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Cape

Canaveral Air Force Station, the future of Scrub Jays in Brevard

Co. appears rather bleak. As shown by the locations of egg sets, Scrub

Jays must have been nearly continuously distributed along US 1 from

Titusville to about 5 miles north of Cocoa (Table 2). At the present

time, Scrub Jays are known from only two places along that stretch of

US 1: at the intersection of US 1 and SR 405, about 2 miles south of

Indian River City (Brevard Co. 33); and about 6 miles north of Cocoa

(Brevard Co. 3). The latter site is about 3 miles south of Delespine,

and is undergoing rapid and extensive development. There is very

little scrub left between Titusville and Cocoa. [Scrub Jays are also

present north of SR 405, about one mile west of US 1 (Brevard

Co. 32)--a population possibly continuous with Brevard Co. 33--and

about 3 miles west of Titusville (Brevard Co. 31), a site apparently

not visited by collectors, although M. M. Green reported Scrub Jays

from that general area in 1889 (Biol. Sury. files)].

Scrub Jays were found at a total of 20 mainland locations, but

only the Valkaria airport scrub (Brevard Co. 34) seems at all secure.

There are probably a few undetected Scrub Jay populations along the

Florida East Coast Railway tracks; the railroad populations and a few

other mainland populations (e.g., Brevard Co. 7 and 24) may persist

indefinitely, but none of those populations is very large.


On Merritt Island and the barrier islands, the prospects for Scrub

Jays are even worse than on the mainland. Except for areas in MINWR

and CCAFS, almost all of the scrub has been cleared or is being

cleared. Thirty-four Scrub Jays were seen on the islands south of SR

528, including 2 on Merritt Island, but only one of those birds was in

a site that appears at all safe--at the Girl Scout Center on Horti

Point (Brevard Co. 17). No more than 10 adult Scrub Jays were found at

Melbourne Beach, perhaps only a quarter of the former population. An

additional 4 birds were seen near Courtenay. Development is rampant on

the barrier island and around the town of Merritt Island. I expect

Scrub Jays to be almost completely gone from those areas in 5 to 10


Nevertheless, with the presence of Merritt Island National

Wildlife Refuge and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the continued

existence of 9600-16,000 Scrub Jays in Brevard Co. seems assured.

Broward County (Figure 4)

Historical. There are 2 Scrub Jay specimens from Broward Co.:

one from H~allandale in 1962, and one from Fort Lauderdale in 1970. One

egg set was collected at Hollywood in 1923. Howell (1932) listed Fort

Lauderdale as a locality for Scrub Jays. H. Byrd (Bio1. Surv. files)

reported that Scrub Jays were "tolerably common 15 miles south of Palm

Beach and south to Little River," a range that includes all of eastern

Broward Co.

Four Scrub Jays were reported on the 1968 Fort Lauderdale summer

bird count (Stevenson 1969), and 3 on the 1969 summer bird count in

Figure 4. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Broward (bottom) and
Palm Beach (top) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub
Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in
Appendix); triangles--former Scrub Jay populations.


Fort Lauderdale (Stevenson 1970a). Scrub Jays were recorded in small

numbers (6 or fewer) on almost all Fort Lauderdale Christmas Bird

Counts from 1959-1973, but none have been recorded on Christmas counts

since then.

B. Humphreys (in litt.) reported that there was a small population

of Scrub Jays in northern Fort Lauderdale until the area was developed

in the mid-1960's. One or two families of jays lived behind a house at

1215 NE 11th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale until about 1975, when they

disappeared (Mrs. T. S. Christensen, in litt.). W. George

(pers. comm.) reported that the last Scrub Jays in Pompano Beach were

seen about 1974.

Present. It is not clear whether Scrub Jays were ever very common

in Broward Co., but they were certainly widespread along the eastern

edge of the county. There are at present no known populations of Scrub

Jays in Broward Co. The last birds evidently disappeared in the

mid-1970's. There is very little scrub left (Steinberg 1980), most of

it having been cleared for development.

Charlotte County (Figure 5)

Historical. C. E. Doe, in his field notes for 17 May 1929,

reported seeing many Scrub Jays at Grove City. Howell (1932) reported

Scrub Jays at Punta Gorda. Tame Scrub Jays were reported at New Point

Comfort (north of Grove City) by Withers (1939). Austin (1976) stated

that Scrub Jays could be found in what I call slash pine scrub between

Placida and Grove City. There is one specimen, without date, of a

juvenile Scrub Jay from Charlotte Harbor. C, J. Penuock reported that

Figure 5. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Charlotte (top) and
Lee (bottom) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay
populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix);
triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circles--other towns and


Scrub Jays were rare breeders at Punta Gorda (Biol. Sury. files, no

date), and M. S. Crosby found 6 Scrub Jays at Punta Gorda in 1926

(Biol. Sury. files).

Present. So far, there have not been significant changes in the

distribution of Scrub Jays in Charlotte Co. Jays are still present at

or near all of the known historical localities.

Sixteen Scrub Jays were found in 5 different locations in two

general areas in 1981. Six jays were found on Shell Creek Loop Road

(C-764), northeast of Punta Gorda (Charlotte Co. 4); the rest were

found at various places along or near SR 775 between Placida and the

Sarasota Co. line (Charlotte Co. 2, 3, 6, and 7). In addition, I have

received reports of Scrub Jays at the Port Charlotte development

(Charlotte Co. 1), and S. A. Nesbitt (in litt.) has reported Scrub Jays

just south of Punta Gorda (Charlotte Co. 5). Much of the scrub at the

Port Charlotte development has already been cleared, and most of the

rest will probably be cleared in a few years. Some of the areas along

SR 775 (e.g., near Wildflower Golf Course) will probably also be

developed soon. There are few signs of active or impending development

along Shell Creek Loop Road; it is possible that In a few years this

will be the only viable population of Scrub Jays in the county.

Citrus County (Figure 6)

Historical. There is one specimen of a Scrub Jay collected at

Crystal River in 1969. One Scrub Jay was seen on the 1981 Floral City

Christmas Bird Count, the first count made at that location. Four jays

were seen on the 1982 count. Scrub Jays have also been reported on US

19-98 near the Cross-Florida Barge Canal (L. F. Snyder, in litt.).

Figure 6. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Citrus (upper left),
Hernando (lower left), and Sumter (right) Counties, Florida.
Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers
refer to list of sites in Appendix); circles--other towns and cities.


Present. Nine populations of Scrub Jays are known in Citrus Co.

The largest population was found inland near the Crystal Manor

development (Citrus Co. 1 and 2) north of Crystal River. Single birds

or small groups were found at sites near Crystal River (Citrus Co. 3,

4, and 5), north of Hernando (6 and 7), and northeast of Inverness (8).

Scrub Jays are also present on the McGregor Smith Scout Reservation

southeast of Inverness (Citrus Co. 9; P. C. Anderson, Ranger, in

litt.), the only protected population of jays in the county. The

Crystal Manor site is being developed, but progress appears to be

rather slow. The other sites do not appear to be in imminent danger of

development, but single families can hardly be considered viable

populations. In addition to the jays on the scout reservation, it is

likely that there will always be a few scattered pairs of Scrub Jays in

Citrus Co.

Clay County (Figure 7)

Historical. One Scrub Jay was seen at Keystone Heights in 1965

(Stevenson 1965). Six Scrub Jays were recorded on the Keystone

Heights-Melrose Christmas Bird Count in 1966j, the only year that count

was made. The birds could have been at Gold Head Branch State Park, or

near Putnam Hall, Putnam Co. Two specimens were collected at Camp

Blanding Military Reservation in 1975.

Present. The Scrub Jays at Camp Blanding were located on the

southeast side of Kingsley Lake (J. Greene, pers. comm.). I did not

find any jays at that site in 1981. J. Greene (in litt.) said he had

not seen any jays there since about mid-1980, and that the site had not

Figure 7. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Clay (left) and St. Johns
(right) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations,
1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix); triangles--
former Scrub Jay populations; circles--other towns and cities.

been burned since about 1960. Some of the site is quite dense and

overgrown with vegetation, while other areas have been heavily

disturbed and have little or no vegetation left. Three Scrub Jays were

seen along SR 21 on the southeast side of Camp Blanding (Clay Co. 1) in

an area with planted slash pines. This small population cannot be

expected to survive long.

The only significant Scrub Jay population known in Clay Co. is at

Gold Head Branch State Park (Clay Co. 2) and on adjacent private

property. That population is the northernmost one remaining in

Florida. One or two families of jays live in the park, and there may

be several more on the private property. The private property would

make an excellent addition to the park.

Collier County (Figure 8)

Historical. Christy (1928) found a pair of Scrub Jays at

Immokalee in 1927, and Sprunt (1946) also reported that Scrub Jays had

been found there. C. A. Mitchell recorded Scrub Jays at "Naples, Lee

Co." in March 1924 (Biol. Sury. files). Naples was in Lee County until

1923, when Collier Co. was formed from part of Lee Co. Mitchell may

have just had an old map. Howell (1932) and Sprunt (1946) both

mentioned Naples as a Scrub Jay locality, presumably referring to

Mitchell's record. Sprunt (1946) also reported a single record of a

Scrub Jay on Marco Island in 1936.

There are 3 Scrub Jay specimens collected in or near Immokalee in

1921, and 2 specimens taken at Lake Trafford in 1937.

Figure 8. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Collier County, Florida.
Square--location of Scrub Jay population, 1980-1983 (number refers
to list of sites in Appendix); triangles--former Scrub Jay populations.

One Scrub Jay was seen on the 1980 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Christmas Bird Count, and 2 jays were seen on the 1981 count. None was

found on the 1982 count.

T. H. Below (in litt.) found a Scrub Jay nest, attended by 3

adults, near Immokalee in the early 1970's, in an area that has since

been developed. Below has never seen a Scrub Jay in Naples since

moving there in the early 1960's.

Present. A small population of Scrub Jays is present on the west

side of the Immokalee Airport (Collier Co. 1; E. Cutlip MS). As many

as 10 jays were seen there at one time in 1980 (E. Cutlip,

pers. comm.). This property is in owned by Collier Co., and the

population could survive indefinitely.

Dade County (Figure 9)

Historical. Oberholser (1920) reported Scrub Jays at Miami, but

Bailey (1932) reported jays only as far south as Lemon City. Sprunt

(1946) wrote that Scrub Jays could be found as far south as Miami, but

added that "many observers have not noted them" so far south (p. 78).

There are 7 Scrub Jay specimens collected between Ojus and North

Miami from 1896 to 1933. Another specimen was collected at North Miami

in 1962. One egg set was secured at Miami in 1910, 3 were collected at

Lemon City in 1922 and 1923, and 3 more were collected at Little River

in 1923 and 1924. One egg set was taken at an unspecified Dade

Co. location in 1923, and one specimen was collected at an unspecified

Dade Co. location in 1936. S. S. Cott, who collected a specimen at

Ojus in winter 1896-97, noted on the label that Scrub Jays were "rather

common among Scrub-pines."

Figure 9. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Dade County, Florida.
Triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circles--other towns
and cities.

J. and H. Quincy (in litt.) reported that 1-2 Scrub Jays were seen

daily from 1953-57 at the corner of NW 125th St and 7th Ave in North

Miami, but that they are all gone now. O. Owre (pers. comm.) stated

that Scrub Jays have been gone from Dade Co. for "years and years." See

comments concerning Rockdale under "Questionable Localities."

Present. Scrub Jays were probably fairly common and widespread in

northeastern Dade Co. at one time, but the last ones apparently

disappeared in the 1960's. The cause of the disappearance was habitat

destruction. There are now no Scrub Jays in Dade Co., and little if

any scrub.

DeSoto County (Figure 10)

Historical. A. H. Howell quoted a Mr. Wilkinson as saying that

Scrub Jays "occur near Fort Ogden" (Biol. Sury. files, 1918).

Present. Scrub Jays are known from two locations in DeSoto Co.:

along the Manatee Co. line, northwest of Arcadia (DeSoto Co. 1,

continuous with Manatee Co. 3); and on the Bright Hour Ranch, southeast

of Arcadia (DeSoto Co. 2). Both sites could support Scrub Jays


I know of no DeSoto Co. Scrub Jay populations near Fort Ogden, but

jays are present a few miles south of Fort Ogde~n in Charlotte

Co. (Charlotte Co. 4).

Dixie County

Historical. See Gilchrist Co.


1 g Limestone



10 mi

Figure 10. Locations of Scrub Jay records in DeSoto (bottom) and
Hardke (top) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay
populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix);
circles--other towns and cities.

Duval County (Figure 11)

His torical. Ord (1818) wrote that Scrub Jays were seen daily in

February and March 1818 in thickets near the mouth of the St. Johns

River. Howell (1932) likewise reported Scrub Jays at the mouth of the

St. Johns River, and Oberholser (1920) stated that they were resident

in low scrub north to Jacksonville. E. R. Greene saw 4 Scrub Jays in

1924 between Pablo Beach (near the intersection of US 90 and SR A1A)

and Atlantic Beach, and 2 Scrub Jays in 1925 between Pablo Beach and

Neptune (Biol. Sury. files).

Grimes (1932) found Scrub Jays nesting at Jacksonville Beach and

Neptune in 1931. Later, Grimes (1940, 1943, and in Sprunt 1946) stated

that there had been 4-5 pairs in the Jackcsonvlle Beach area in 1930,

but that they had all disappeared by 1940. He attributed the

disappearance solely to the clearing of scrub for development.

One Scrub Jay egg set was collected at Jacksonville Beach in 1933.

One Scrub Jay was seen in coastal Jacksonville on the 1948

Christmas Bird Count. Scrub Jays were not seen again on a Jacksonville

Christmas Count until 1972, when one was seen on Talbot Island. A

Scrub Jay was present for 3-4 months in 1970 in scrub between the

Jacksonville Beach hospital and the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club

(S. A. Grimes, in litt.). A~ single jay seen on the University of North

Florida campus in 1978 was said to have been the first one in Duval

Co. in 6 years (Kale 1978b), but S. A. Grimes (in litt.) has informed

me that a family of Scrub Jays was present in scrub south of SR 202

(J. Turner Butler Blvd), about 1 and 1/2 miles west of SR A1A in

Jacksonville Beach in winter 1974-75.

Figure 11. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Duval County, Florida.
Triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circle--other city.

Present. Scrub Jays were extirpated as breeding birds from Duval

Co. in the 1940's or 1950's. The jays occasionally reported from the

county are most likely non-breeding vagrants from farther south or

southwest t in Florida. As a result of urban development, there is very

little scrub left in Duval Co.

Flagler County (Figure 12)

Historical. In Flagler Co., Scrub Jays have been reported from

Bulow (2 specimens, 1925); in the vicinity of Flagler Beach (Lane

1981; and one specimen, 1929); 7 miles north of Flagler Beach (one

specimen, 1972); near Marineland (Hundley 1964; Stevenson

1970b; Steffee and Mason 1971c; Lane 1981; and one specimen, 1958); and

Matanzas Island (one specimen, 1950).

Concerning the two specimens collected at Bulow in 1925,

A. H. Howell noted that in the area where the birds were collected,

Scrub Jays "were numerous in oak and palmetto scrub on the beach"

(Biol. Sury. files). Stevenson (1970b) wrote that the northern limit

of the range of Scrub Jays in 1970 was at Marineland, although they had

previously been found north to Duval Co.

Five Scrub Jays were seen on the 1972 Christmas Bird Count at

Flagler Beach. No other Christmas counts have been conducted in

Flagler Co.

Present. Scrub Jays are still present just south of Marineland

(Flagler Co. 2) and at Flagler Beach State Recreation A~rea (Flagler

Co. 1). The population at Flagler Beach SRA has, however, declined

from 3-4 pairs in the mid-1970's to a single family in 1981, due to

Figure 12. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Flagler (right) and
Putnam (left) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay
populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix);
triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circle--other town.

clearing of nearby scrub for development (C. Thorndike, Ranger,

pers. comm.). There are still extensive areas of scrub along the

Atlantic coast in Flagler Co., and some of these areas may still

support Scrub Jays. Most of that scrub is privately owned, however,

and therefore subject to development. (One large development is

currently being planned for the coastal area, about 4 miles south of


Scrub along SR A1A between Marineland and Washington Oaks Gardens

State Park (Flagler Co. 2) would make an excellent preserve.

Gilchrist County (Figure 2)

Historical. A. P. Smith reported Scrub Jays from Wannee on 10 Jan

1901 (Biol. Surv. files), and Howell (1932) listed Wannee as a location

for Scrub Jays.

Present. I could not find any scrub or Scrub Jays in Gilchrist

Co. There is, however, a tract of oak scrub in Dixie Co. about 3 miles

southwest of Wannee, across the Suwannee River. This tract could be

the location of the Wannee records, or it may merely be the last

remnant of scrub that was once more widespread around Wannee.

Glades County (Figure 13)

Historical. The only historical locality reported in the

literature for Scrub Jays in Glades Co. is along Fisheating Creek

(Evans 1923; Howell 1932; Sprunt 1946; Lane 1981). There is one Scrub

Jay specimen from Fisheating Creek in 1891, one from Palmdale in 1975,

and 2 specimens collected at unspecified Glades Co. localities in 1930.

Figure 13. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Glades (top) and
Hendry (bottom) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub
Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in
Appendix); triangle--former Scrub Jay population; circle--other

Present. Scrub Jays can be readily seen along SR 74, west of US

27, in the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area (Glades Co. 4).

Scrub Jays are also present on several other areas of Fisheating Creek

WMA (Glades Co. 2, 3, and 9). The greatest numbers of jays are on the

north and south sides of Fisheating Creek itself, west of US 27. I

estimate the total Scrub Jay population at Fisheating Creek WMA to be

abou t 150 birds. That population should be preserved if at all

possible. Although the scrub in those areas is part of a wildlife

management area, it is nevertheless privately owned, and some of the

scrub has been cleared for cattle pasture in the past few years. (It

is conceivable that in the absence of fire, clearing of small patches

of scrub might actually prove beneficial to Scrub Jays by providing

openings in the habitat and preventing the vegetation from growing too

tall. Scrub Jays would benefit, however, only if each parcel of scrub

were allowed to regenerate for 8-10 years before being cleared again,

and if no non-scrub plants were planted. I cannot recommend mechanical

clearing of vegetation as a general management technique, but it might

prove useful in a few cases, and having Scrub Jays in a cow pasture is

preferable to having no jays at all.)

Scrub Jays are also present at low densities near Palmdale (Clades

Co. 1, 5 and 8), and at various places along SR 29 (6 and 7) and SR 78

(10-3).With the possible exception of the site east of Palmdale (5)

and the one at the Ortona Cemetery (13), these sites do not seem likely

to be developed, but the Scrub Jay populations are small and widely

dispersed, and cannot be considered stable.


Hardee County (FIgure 10)

Historical. One Scrub Jay was seen at stop 41 of the Fort

Lonesome (southeastern Hillsborough Co.) Breeding Bird Survey in 1972.

Stop 41 is on SR 64, probably just east of the Manatee Co. line, in

Hardee Co. (However, depending on exactly where the observer stopped

that year, stop 41 could have been a half-mile or more east or west of

its proper location, even in Manatee Co.)

Present. One small population of Scrub Jays was found west of

Limestone (Hardee Co. 1) in 1981. This population lives in a mosaic of

pastures and various types of scrub. There were no obvious indications

that any of that scrub will be cleared in the near future. There are

probably other small populations of Scrub Jays in southwestern Hardee


I have been unable to find any jays or scrub along SR 64 east of

the Manatee Co. line. There is some scrub along SR 64 in Manatee Co.,

just west of the Hardee Co. line, but I have found no jays there,


Hendry County (Figure 13)

H is torical. There are six Scrub Jay specimens from Fort Thompson

(near Laaelle), collected 1891-92, and one from LaBelle in 1937.

Howell (1932) also reported Scrub Jays from Fort Thompson.

E. S. Clark (in litt.) saw one Scrub Jay 20 December 1980 near the

junction of SR SO and SR 78A, about 5 miles southwest of LaBelle.

Present. I found no Scrub Jays in Hendry Co. in 1981, and only a

few small areas of slash pine scrub and poor quality oak scrub. I

conclude that there are no viable Scrub Jay populations in Hendry

Co. at the present time.

Hernando County (Figure 6)

Historical. Ten Scrub Jays were seen on the Hernando Co. Summer

Bird Count in 1969 (Stevenson 1970a). Westcott (1970) did not find any

jays at the Weeki Wachee scrub in 1969-70, but he felt that some of the

habitat would be suitable for Scrub Jays.

Present. The Weeki Wachee scrub (Hernando Co. 3) burned in June

1971, and at least one or two families of Scrub Jays are resident there

now. The jays may have dispersed to Weeki Wachee on their own, but

S. B. Pickett (pers. comrm.) has told me that the Scrub Jays were

released in that area in the 1970's by a local resident. The birds are

reproducing there, which indicates that it might be relatively easy to

establish new Scrub Jay populations elsewhere in the state, if that

story is true. The Weeki Wachee scrub is quite extensive, with few

signs of active development, but that situation could change quickly.

In addition, the sand pines are regenerating in many areas of the

scrub, and are now reaching heights of 6 meters or more. If the area

is not burned in the next few years, Scrub Jays might disappear due to

vegetational succession, even if the area is not developed.

Several Scrub Jays are present at Ridge Manor Estates (Hernando

Co. 1), north of the town of Ridge Manor. This development covers

several hundred acres and has an extensive network of roads, but I saw

very few new houses, or houses under construction. The jays,

therefore, seem relatively safe for the time being, but the development

could begin growing qulicklyr at any time.

A few Scrub Jays inhabit the western portions of Richloam Wildlife

Management Area (Hernando Co. 2), and this small population may persist


Highlands County (Figure 14)

Historical. Totals of 105 specimens and 26 egg sets of Scrub Jays

have been collected in Highlands Co. The specimens are from Lake

Istokpoga (2, 1893; 2, 1973); the Lake Placid-Childs-Hicoria area (5,

1928; 2, 1945-47; 7, 1950-59; 29, 1960-69; 46, 1970-79; 2, 1980); about

8 miles northwest of Lake Placid (1, 1980); Lorida (2, 1961); near

Sebring (1, 1972); 6 miles east of Sebring (2, 1923); Venus (1,

1960); and unspecified Highlands Co. locations (one each in 1959, 1961,

and 1973). Of the birds collected between Lake Placid and Hicoria,

approximately half were collected north of SR 70, and half south of SR

70. The egg sets include 5 from Sebring in 1923, and 21 from Lake

Placid and Childs, 1927-31.

The specimen localities include all sites mentioned in the

literature (Howell 1932; Pitelka 1951; Westcott 1970) except for a

population of Scrub Jays at Highlands Hlammock State Park (Hundley

1964; Steffee and Mason 1971a; Lane 1981).

G. E. Woolfenden, J. W. Fitzpatrick, and their colleagues have

been conducting intensive studies on a population of Scrub Jays at

Archbold Biological Station, about 8 miles south of Lake Placid, since

1969 (Stallcup and Woolfenden 1978; Woolfenden 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978b;

Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1977, 1978, MS).


Figure 14. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Highlands (left) and
Okeechobee (right) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub
Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in
Appendix); circles--other towns and cities.


Scrub Jays have been seen at one time or another on more than

two-thirds of the stops on the Lake Placid Breeding Bird Survey. Jays

have been most frequently seen along Old SR 8 (= SR 17) between SR 70

and SR 731.

Present. Totals of 302 adult and 75 juvenile Scrub Jays were seen

at over 50 locations in Highlands Co. Outside of Archbold Biological

Station in 1981. All but three of the populations were located within

6 miles of US 27, which runs roughly down the center of the Lake Wales

Ridge. Scrub Jays were found at all known historical locations, but it

is evident that much scrub has been cleared, especially along US 27.

For example, along US 27 between SR 70 and Venus (Highlands Co. 27),

about 65% of the natural vegetation has been cleared for citrus groves.

All of the remaining natural vegetation is scrub, indicating that scrub

was the major, if not the only, type of natural vegetation in that

area. North of SR 70 on US 27, scrub was probably intermixed with

other vegetation types, but was still a major component of the

vege ta tion. Very little natural vegetation of any type is left along

US 27 between SR 70 and the Polk Co. line, although Scrub Jays are

still present in some of the scrub that is left (Highlands Co. 22, 27).

I conclude, therefore, that Scrub Jays have declined significantly in

Highlands Co., due to habitat destruction, even though the trend cannot

be verified with historical records.

Scrub Jays will continue to decline in Highlands Co. as

development proceeds. At least 8 sites (Highlands Co. 1, 3, 4, 12, 20,

23, 24, and 38) show clear signs of development. Only the small

populations at Avon Park Bombing Range (5) and Highlands Hammock State

Park (8), and the large population at Archbold Biological Station (6),

are adequately protected. No doubt some of the other unprotected areas

will be developed in the future, but a large amount of scrub will still

be present in Righlands Co., just because there was so much of it to

begin with. The area likely to suffer the most damage from clearing,

other than the known housing developments, is along US 27 south of SR

70, as the scrub is cleared for citrus groves.

Using the Highlands Co. soil survey (Soil Conservation Service

1952), I estimated that prior to the development of Highlands Co.,

there may have been as much as 4000 hectares (10,000 acres) of scrub

south of SR 70, excluding Archbold Biological Station (ABS). That area

represents the extreme southern end of the Lake Wales Ridge. Some of

the scrub would have been sand pine scrub, but most would have been

suitable Scrub Jay habitat. Assuming that 65% of that scrub has been

cleared, as it has along US 27, about 1400 ha (3500 ac) of scrub

remain. Further assuming that the Scrub Jay density at ABS--about 10

birds/40 ha--is average for that whole area, I derive a population of

350 Scrub Jays for the area. The undisturbed portions should be

preserved if at al~l possible.

It is difficult to estimate the Scrub Jay population sizes in

other portions of Highlands Co. because the scrub is intermixed with

other habitats. Considerable scrub remains near Lake Placid, although

development is already taking place in most of the large tracts of

scrub. Nevertheless, in 1981, I found about 180 Scrub Jays within

about 6 miles (10 km) of Lake Placid, north of SR 70, and I estimate

that there are about 300 birds in that area.

In 1979, all "adult-plumaged" Scrub Jays at Archbold Biological

Station were counted during the breeding season (Woolfenden and

F itz patri ck MS ). A total of 388 jays in 144 groups was found. S ince

then, another small tract of scrub (and a lake) have been added to the

station property, so the continued existence of about 400 jays at ABS

seems likely. Most of the scrub on the station is burned periodically,

maintaining its suitability for Scrub Jays.

Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick have color-banded almost all of the

Scrub Jays on their study area at ABS, so that they can track the lives

of individual birds. I made a special effort to check for color-banded

Scrub Jays in H~ighlands Co., but found none outside of Woolfenden and

Fitzpatrick's study area, indicating a very low rate of dispersal.

Three sites in Highlands Co. should be considered as candidates

for preservation: a site on the west side of Lake Istokpoga, northeast

of Lake Placid (Highlands Co. 16); an area about 9 miles southeast of

Lorida on US 98 (30); and east and west of US 27, south of SR 70 (27).

Preservation of some scrub along US 27 is especially important, to

provide a buffer zone for the Archbold scrub.

Archbold Biological Station will always support a large population

of Scrub Jays, but jays will continue to decline in other parts of

Highland Co. as more scrub is cleared.

Hillsborough County (Figure 15)

Historical. There are few records of Scrub Jays in Hillsborough

Co. Reynolds (1910) wrote that he had seen "quite a number" of Scrub

Jays at an unspecified location in "Hillsbrook County" (p. 132), which

Figure 15. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Hillsborough (bottom)
and Pasco (top) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay
populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix);
triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circles--other towns and

I assume refers to Hillsborough County. Baynard (1942) reported that

there were only four records of Scrub Jays in 20 years at Hillsborough

River S ta te Park. A member of the Florida Ornithological Society

reported that there were Scrub Jays near Ruskin in the early 1970's

(anon., pers. comm.).

Present. I found no Scrub Jays in Hillsborough Co. in 1981, and

have received only two recent reports of jays in the county: just

north of Picnic (Hillsborough Co. 1); and southeast of Ruskin (2).

There are several tracts of scrub, especially in the southern half of

the county, and some of them may support small numbers of Scrub Jays.

Indian River County (Figure 16)

Historical. Between 1896 and 1911, 13 Scrub Jay specimens were

collected at Sebastian. One egg set was taken near Roseland in 1925,

and 3 specimens were collected near the Roseland fire tower in 1973.

Two Scrub Jays were seen on the 1967 Vero Beach Summer Bird Count

(Stevenson 1968). Scrub Jays were seen on all Vero Beach Christmas

Bird Counts from 1965 to 1973, except one, with a maximum of 12 in

1972. No Christmas Bird Counts have been made in the Vero Beach area

since 1972. Scrub Jays were seen every year from 1966-82 on the South

Brevard Co. Christmas count, which includes the northeastern part of

Indian River Co. Some Scrub Jays were probably seen in Indian River

Co. on each count, but the exact numbers are unknown.

M?. C. Bowman (pers. comm.) has informed me that Scrub Jays were

once present on the barrier island, but have been gone for many years.

Figure 16. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Indian River (top),
Martin (bottom), and St. Lucie (center) Counties, Florida. Squares--
locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list
of sites in Appendix); triangles--former Scrub Jay populations;
circles--other towns and cities.

Present. I found eleven Scrub Jays at four places (Indian River

Co. 1-3, 5) in Indian River Co. in 1981, and I have received a report

of Scrub Jays at one other location (4). The populations are located

at Roseland and near Winter Beach.

There may be a few other undetected populations. Scrub Jays are

still present at or near the known historical locations, except for the

barrier island, but they have declined as a result of habitat

des truck tion. The scrub at Roseland (Indian River Co. 1) is unlikely to

be cleared in the near future, and probably supports more than the 3

jays I found there. The other 4 sites cannot be expected to remain

intact indefinitely.

Lake County (excluding portions in Ocala National Forest) (Figure 17)

Historical. Keck (1903) reported that Scrub Jays were very rare

in the vicinity of Fruitland Park. Bosanquet (1927) wrote that Scrub

Jays were present in Lake Co., especially in "scrub lands." The field

notes of C. E. Doe indicate that he found Scrub Jays about 5 miles

south of Leesburg in 1932, and in the area between Eustis, Mount Dora,

and Tavares in 1938-1940. F. M. Walker reported "an abundance" of

Scrub Jays between Tavares and Leesburg (Biol. Sury. files, 1922).

There are three Scrub Jay specimens collected one mile south of

Sorrento in 1950, one from Eustis in 1934, one from 4.5 miles south of

Okahumpka in 1964, and two egg sets from between Tavares and Eustis,

dated 1939 and 1942.

Scrub Jays were seen on every Mount Dora Christmas Bird Count

(including those listed as Tangerine-Mount Dora) from 1955 to 1982. A


12 13

MM 1119
17 r

24 16

21 0

Leesburg 125


14 W
15-16 g


10 mi


Figure 17. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Lake County, Florida.
Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer
to list of sites in Appendix); triangles--former Scrub Jay populations;
circles--other towns and cities.


high of 28 Scrub Jays was seen in 1965, but no more than 11 have been

seen on any count since 1976. The Mount Dora CBC circle includes part

of Orange Co., and some of the Scrub Jays in each year were probably

seen in Orange Co.

Brigham (1973) wrote that the Scrub Jay population in the Mount

Dora area had declined due to habitat destruction for housing

developments. She could find only one pair of jays in Mount Dora,

where there had been 6-8 pairs five years previously.

Scrub Jays have been recorded regularly at stops 26-29 on the

Mabel (Sumter Co.) Breeding Bird Survey. Those stops are on SR 48,

roughly 1.1-2.6 miles SW of Florida's Turnpike.

Present. Scrub Jays were found at 25 locations in Lake Co. in

1980 and 1981. The largest populations were found southeast of

Astatula (Lake Co. 2), along SR 44 between Cassia and Crow's Bluff (4-7

and 10-11), east of Eustis (13), and south of Howey-In-The-Hills (14).

In the areas southeast of Astatula and between Cassia and Crow's Bluff,

extensive areas of scrub are being cleared for houses. Recent clearing

was also evident at a site south of Clermont (9). Portions of the site

east of Eustis (13) have been cleared in the past, but the remainder

appears largely undisturbed and could support Scrub Jays indefinitely.

Scrub Jays are present at only two locations between Eustis, Tavares,

and Mount Dora (17, 18), and at one additional site between Tavares and

Leesburg (25). Extensive clearing has occurred around all of those

sites and they are not safe from further clearing.

I found no Scrub Jays one mile south of Sorrento, but jays are

still present a mile farther south, near Bay Ridge in Orange Co. N~o

jays were found 5 miles south of Leesburg, or 4.5 miles south of


Site 23 is close to stop 29 of the Mabel (Sumter Co.) Breeding

Bird Survey. A narrow strip of disturbed scrub is present between SR

48 and the Seaboard Coast Line Railway tracks from near Florida's

Turnpike, southwest to about 1.5 miles west of the Sumter Co. line (see

Sumter Co. 1). Scrub Jays may be distributed continuously along that

stretch of scrub; the habitat does not appear to be in danger of being


The fairly large population south of Howey-In-The-Hills (Lake

Co. 14) is in disturbed scrub, and its future cannot be predicted at

this time. The remaining Scrub Jay populations are scattered

throughout all but the southern quarter of Lake Co. Many of the

populations (e.g., at sites 3, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, and 23) are in

disturbed scrub habitats. Because of the apparent ability of Scrub

Jays to survive in disturbed habitats, it is likely that there will

always be scattered pairs or small populations of Scrub Jays in Lake

Co. Scrub Jays will continue to decline as more habitat is cleared,

but it is unlikely that they will disappear completely from the county.

I expect the population to stabilize at around 100 jays in several


Lee County (Figure 5)

Historical. Scrub Jays have been reported in Lee Co. from Alvta

(Howell 1932; Steffee and Mason 1971b), F~ort MZyers (Oberholser

1920; Howell 1932), 01ga (Steffee and M~ason~r 1971b), Punt~a Rassa

(Bendire 1895; Howell 1932), and along SR 78 east of SR 31 (Hundley

1964). Scott (1889) reported that Scrub Jays were common along the

Gulf coast north of Punta Rassa, but not at Punta Rassa, so there is

some doubt as to whether Scrub Jays have ever been resident there.

On several occasions, Scrub Jays have been recorded on the

Breeding Bird Survey beginning near Salvista (north Fort Myers area):

one at stop 37 and one at stop 47, 1967; 2 at stop 21 and 3 at stop 46,

1968; 3 at stop 21, 1969; 2 at stop 35, 1971; one at stop 26, 1972; one

at stop 49, 1973; and three at stop 38, 1977. Stop 21 is on SR 78,

about 2 miles northeast of US 41 (Business Route); stop 26 is on SR 78,

about 3.5 miles northeast of UTS 41 (Business Route); stops 35 and 37

are on SR 78, about 1.5 and 0.5 miles, respectively, west and south of

SR 31; stop 38 is near the junction of SR 31 and SR 78; stops 46 and 47

are on SR 78, approximately 3.5 to 4.0 miles east of SR 31; and stop 49

is on SR 78, about 5 miles east of SR 31.

Three Scrub Jays were seen on the 1968 Fort Mlyers Summer Bird

Count (Stevenson 1969). Scrub Jays have never been recorded on a Fort

Myers Christmas Bird Count (1927, 1955, 1957-1980).

In addition to one specimen secured at Fort Miyers in 1892, there

are 23 Scrub Jay specimens from Alva, collected between 1891 and 1907,

perhaps indicating that Scrub Jays were fairly common there at that

time .

There are several records of Scrub Jays in Liee Co. in the files of

the old Biological Survey: A person referred to only as "Beers" found

Scrub Jay eggs at Alva in 1907. A. H. HoIwill saw one Scrub Jay north

of Fort Myers near the Caloosahatchee River in 1919, and quoted

S. Ranson as saying that Scrub Jays "occur in moderate numbers" in that

area. M. S. Crosby noted 2 Scrub Jays at Fort M~yers in 1925, and 4 at

Alva in 1926.

Present. I found, or received reports of, Scrub Jays at 8

locations in Lee Co. All locations are within 2 miles of the

Caloosahatchee River east of Fort Myers. All of the sites are east of

SR 31, even though several of the older records are from west of SR 31.

A new street was put in one of the 01ga sites (Lee Co. 7) in 1979 or

1980, and two of the Alva sites (4 and 6) have evidently also undergone

some recent clearing. Scrub Jays could persist indefinitely at the

other sites, but due to the limited amount of scrub in Lee Co., it is

unlikely that there will ever be more than 30 or 40 Scrub Jays, if that

many, in the county.

Leyg County (Figure 18)

Historical. Ninety Scrub Jay specimens have been collected in

Levy Co. Of that number, 77 were collected in the Cedar Key--Lukens-

Sumner-Rosewood area from 1870-1908, one was collected at "Cedar Keys"

in 1926, 6 were collected near Rosewood or Sumner from 1952 to 1964, 3

were collected at Cedar Key in 1964-65, and one was collected at Cedar

Key in 1970. Single specimens were collected at Yankeetown in 1959 and

1964. One egg set was collected at "Cedar Keys" in 1894, and another

was collected "about three miles east [=north?] of Cedar Key" in 1935.

The Cedar Key, Lukens, Rosewood, and Sumner specimens are all referable

to a single, large population found within a fewI miles north of what is

now the junction of SR 24 and SR 347.

Figure 18. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Levy County, Florida.
Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer
to list of sites in Appendix); triangle--former Scrub Jay population;
circles--other towns and cities.

Howell (1932) reported that Scrub Jays had been found at Cedar Key

and Sumner. Maynard (1881) wrote that he had found Scrub Jays "in

quite large flocks on the mainland opposite Cedar Keys" (p. 165).

It is not clear whether Scrub Jays were ever present at Cedar Key

proper, or if Cedar Key was just used as a general term, referring to

the Rosewood-Sumner-Lukens area. For example, even though Maynard

(1881) wrote that Scrub Jays were common "on the mainland opposite

Cedar Keys," he gave the location of specimens he collected in the area

as "Cedar Keys."

Seventeen Scrub Jays were found on the 1979 Christmas Bird Count

at Cedar Key, 6 on the 1980 count, 13 on the 1981 count, and 26 in


Present. Scrub Jays were found in 3 areas of Levy Co. in 1981:

northeast of Bronson (Levy Co. 1); south of Chief land (7); and north of

Cedar Key (2-6). I did not find any jays at Yankeetown.

Very little scrub is left at Yankeetown, but some scrub is still

present near Rosewood and Sumner. The Rosewood-Sumner scrub appears

too tall and dense to be suitable for Scrub Jays, however, probably due

to the absence of fire for over 25 years (see below).

The Bronson site is on private property, and the jays may survive

there indefinitely. Some of the land at the Chief land site has been

cleared for houses recently, and the rest may follow in a few years.

Portions of the Cedar Key scrub are owned by the State of Florida

as the Cedar Key Scrub State Preserve (Levy Co. 5 and 6), and the

future of Scrub Jays on that land is assured as long as proper

management techniques are followed. An extensive wildfire burned most

of the Cedar Key scrub in the mid-1950's, and some of the areas have

not been burned since then. As a result, portions of the scrub are too

dense and overgrown to provide suitable Scrub Jay habitat. Burning of

the scrub on a 5-10 year cycle should improve the quality of the

habitat for the jays. I found 20-21 Scrub Jays on the state preserve

in 1980 and 1981, and estimate that there are no more than 30 or 40

jays on the preserve. This number could probably be increased through

judicious burning.

Most of the private property around the state preserve is

relatively undisturbed, although some land has been cleared in the last

five years for projected housing developments. Some of the best Scrub

Jay habitat in the area is privately owned and posted "For Sale"--See

4, T15S, R13E (Levy Co. 4). I counted almost 20 Scrub Jays in that one

section in March 1981. Most of the birds were west of SR 347. A few

lots along SR 347 were cleared in 1982. Section 4 is bordered on three

sides by the state preserve; it should be protected from development if

at all possible.

I saw a total of 35 Scrub Jays on private lands in the Cedar Key

area in 1981, and estimate that about that many more went undetected.

If site 4 remains relatively undisturbed, a total population of about

100 Scrub Jays might be sustained in all of the Cedar Key scrub. If

site 4 and other areas are developed, the total might be as low as

40-60 birds.

Manatee County (Figure 19)

H is torical. There are 6 Scrub Jay specimens from Manatee Co.--

one from Mlanatee in 1876, 2 from "Sneeds [sic] Island" in 1889, and 3

from unspecified locations, 1884-1898. One batch of 8 eggs was

collected at Manatee (date unknown).

Byrd (1927) wrote that Scrub Jays had been "fairly abundant" in

Manatee Co. in 1925, but added that the clearing of much of the scrub

in 1924 for subdivisions had caused the population size to decrease.

Earlier, Byrd (Biol. Sury. files, 1918) had reported that Scrub Jays

occurred a little south of Bradenton.

Scrub Jays were seen on the Palma Sola Christmas Bird Count in

1908, 1910, 1912, 1925, and 1929. One Scrub Jay was seen on the

Northwest Manatee Co. Christmas Count in 1950. Scrub Jays were seen on

every Bradenton Christmas Bird Count: from 1959 to 1976, with a maximum

of 20 jays in 1964. No more than 6 jays were seen after the 1971

count. No counts were conducted from 1976 to 1981, and no jays were

found when the Bradenton count was reinstituted in 1982.

Scrub Jays have been seen three times on the Breeding Bird Survey

that begins at Fort Lonesome, Hillsborough Co. One jay was seen at

stop 41 in 1972, one was seen at stop 30 in 1977, and one was seen at

stop 29 in 1978. Stop 29 is on Duette Rd, 4.0-4.5 miles north of SR

64, stop 30 is 0.5 miles south of stop 29, and stop 41 is on SR 64,

near the Hardee Co. line (see comments under Hardee Co.).

Y. M. Stevenson (pers. comm.) found Scrub Jays in 1974 and 1977 on

private property in northeastern Manatee Co., west of SR 39 and south

of the Hillsborough Co. line.

Figure 19. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Manatee (top) and
Sarasota (bottom) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub
Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in
Appendix); triangles--former Scrub Jay populations; circles--other
towns and cities.

Present. Scrub Jays are known from 4 locations in Manatee Co. At

the site west of Myakka City (Manatee Co. 2), there is a substantial

amount of scrub, and probably more than just the 2 jays I found there.

The land is privately owned, and posted "For Sale." A small population

(Manatee Co. 4) of jays is present on Duette Rd, about 3.0-3.5 miles

north of SR 64, near stop 30 of the Fort Lonesome BBS. Another

population is southeast of Myakka City, straddling the Manatee-DeSoto

Co. line (Manatee Co. 3 and Desoto Co. 1).

I found no Scrub Jays in western Manatee Co., but have received

one report of a very small population in Bradenton (Manatee

Co. 1; D. D. Fulghum, in litt.). There are only a few remnants of

scrub left in Bradenton, and I found no scrub at all on Snead's Island.

Scrub Jays will probably disappear completely from western Manatee

Co. in the next few years because of habitat destruction.

I was unable to investigate the site in northeastern Manatee

Co. where H. M. Stevenson found Scrub Jays in the 1970's (see above),

but there are patches of scrub scattered throughout eastern Manatee

Co., and I would not be surprised if several of them supported small

populations of Scrub Jay.

Marion County (excluding portions in Ocala National Forest) (Figure 20)

Historical. There is little information concerning the historical

distribution of Scrub Jays in Marion Co. Two specimens were collected

one mile east of Silver Springs in 1952, and single specimens were

collected near Candler in 1964, and 8 miles west of Belleview in 1965.

One egg set was collected at an unspecified location in 1911.

Figure 20. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Mlarion County, Florida.
Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer
to list of sites in Appendix); circles--other towns and cities.
See Figure 21 for Ocala National Forest.

Westcott (1970) found Scrub Jays along C-484 where the highway

bisects the "Big Scrub,"*a 1-2 miles west of 1-75.

Fossil remains of at least two Scrub Jays, dating from the late

Pleistocene, have been found near Reddick (Hamon 1964).

Present. The "Big Scrub" is an extensive tract of scrub, 1-2

miles wide and about 12 miles long, extending from just south of the

I-75 rest area south of Ocala to 3-4 miles south of the Sumter

Co. line. Most of the Big Scrub is sand pine scrub, but there are some

areas of oak scrub without sand pines, and those areas support Scrub

Jays. The two areas where Scrub Jays were found In 1981 are in or near

the two housing developments in the Big Scrub--Ocala Waterway

development (Marion Co. 6) and Marion Oaks (Marion Co. 1),

The Ocala Waterway development has an extensive network of roads,

but there were no houses in the Scrub Jay habitat as of July 1983.

About 620 hectares (1550 acres) of scrub on the development and

adjacent, undisturbed scrub were burned on 16 May 1977 (Mason M. Rowe,

Forester, pers. comm.). This area is regenerating as dense 1-2 m oak

* There is confusion in the literature over exactly what is meant by
the "Big Scrub." The earliest use I have found of the term is in a
soil survey of the Ocala area in 1915 (Moo-ney et al. 1915). The map
illustrating the results of the survey was drawn in 1912, and shows a
narrow strip of land running in a north-south direction, south of
Ocala and west of Belleview, that is labelled "The Big Scrub." A few
years later, Byrd (1927) found Scrub Jays abundant in "the Big Scrub
in the eastern part of Marion Co." (p. 87), obviously referring to
Ocala National Forest. Kurz (1942) and Laessle (1958, 1968) wrote as
extensively on the scrub as anyone, and both of them called the scrub
ridge west of Belleview "The Big Scrub." Various publications of the
U. S. Forest Service (e.g., USDA Forest Service 1939; Cooper et
al. 1959; Snedaker and Lugo 1972) state that Ocala National Forest is
locally referred to as "The Big Scrub." I shall use the term only
when referring to the scrub ridge west of Belleview.

scrub, with scattered 2 m sand pines. The road network provides most

of the openings in the scrub and facilitated censusing of the area. I

counted 40 Scrub Jays in an area of about 200 acres in February 1981.

A more intensive census in 1982 yielded an estimate of 19.3 birds/40

ha. The census area appeared to have a higher density of jays than

some of the surrounding area, so a reasonable estimate of the total

Scrub Jay population in the entire burned area would be 250-300 birds.

Scrub Jays were also found at several places within the Marion

Oaks development (Marion Co. 1). Marion Oaks Is about 8 miles west of

Belleview, in the vicinity of where the 1965 specimen was collected.

Construction is proceeding rapidly at Mlarion Oaks. So far, all of the

development is south of C-484, but the developers plan to extend the

development to the north side of C-484. Scrub Jays may persist in

scattered remnants of scrub at Marion Oaks, but most will surely

disappear from that area in the next few years.

Undeveloped portions of the Big Scrub are worthy of preservation.

An especially good area for Scrub Jays is the burned area adjacent to

the Ocala Waterway development (See 26, T165, R21E).

One other development in Marion Co. poses a direct and immediate

threat to Scrub Jays--"Silver Springs Shores," just northwest of

Candler (M"arion Co. 3). Fifteen Scrub Jays were seen there in February

and Mrarch, 1981, but most of the habitat will probably be cleared for

houses within 10 or 20 years.

Scrub Jays were found at 3 other locations in Miarion Co.--

southwest of Belleview (Marion Co. 2), north of Eureka (4), and just

Jest of Ocala (5). They are all fairly small populations, and do not

seem to be in any immediate danger of destruction.

I found no Scrub Jays east of Silver Springs, but a few small

patches of scrub remain In that area. However, the two specimens

collected there were both juveniles, which could have just been

wandering through the area.

Martin County (Figure 16)

Historical. Scrub Jays have been reported from Jonathan Dickinson

State Park (Westcott 1970); 1-2 miles south of Port Salerno on SR A1A

(Hundley 1964); Rio (Toussaint 1913); and a mile north of Stuart

(Kuerzi 1939). Christy (1928) noted that Scrub Jays were frequently

seen along the highway from Stuart south to Palm Beach.

Scrub Jay specimens have been collected at Stuart (2, 1913), Port

Sewall (1, 1941), and Salerno (1, 1964).

Scrub Jays have been seen on every Christmas Bird Count conducted

at Stuart since 1959, with a maximum of 42 in 1962. Thirty-five jays

were seen on the 1974 count, 25 on the 1978 count, and 24 on the 1982

count, so the Christmas count data give little indication of a decline

of Scrub Jay numbers in Martin Co.

Present. The major concentration of Scrub Jays in Martin Co. is

at Jonathan Dickinson State Park (Martin Co. 1-6). I saw 98 Scrub Jays

in the park in 1981, and estimate that the total population is over 200

birds. A wildfire burned over 400 hectares (1000 acres) of scrub in

the park in 1971; that area is now excellent Scrub Jlay habitat, with

2-3 m scrub oaks and sand pines, and much bare sand. To maintain the

quality of the scrub here, portions of it should be burned on a

rotational basis, beginning immediately, with a 5-10 year burn cycle on

each tract. Without fire, the density of Scrub Jays will begin to


As development proceeds in Palm Beach Co., to the south of

Jonathan Dickinson State Park, it is probable that the park will become

the southernmost location for Scrub Jays on the Atlantic coast in a few


Scrub Jays are present at 5 sites between Stuart and Hobe Sound

(Mar tin Co. 7-11 ). The site near Gomez (10) does not appear likely to

be developed soon. The other sites are near Stuart (11) and Port

Salerno. Two of those sites (7, 11) consist only of remnant scrub, and

the other two (8 and 9) are in places where they could be developed

any time.

No Scrub Jays were found north of t-he St. Lucie River in M~artin

Co., even though some scrub remains. The disappearance of Scrub Jays

from the area north of Stuart (including Rio), may be due to habitat

destruction, or to natural succession of the scrub, rendering it

unsuitable for Scrub Jays.

Ocala National Forest (portions of Lake, Marion, and Putnam Counties)

(Figure 21)

Historical. Considering the abundance of Scrub Jays in the Ocala

National Forest, there is remarkably little information concerning

their historical occurrence there. Byrd (1927) wrote that Scrub Jays

were abundant in the "Big Scrub" in eastern Miarion Co., apparently

referring to Ocala National Forest (see comments on the various uses of

the term "Big Scrub" under M~arion Co.). Howell (1932) listed Fort

8 9 -17

518-19 I10 mi
23-25 127
26g 1128
32g M29-31
33g a8 g35-36
37-391 g40
M41-44 1147
45 16g1 1153-54
49 50-52 61g

605 555-5

Figure 21. Locations of Scrub Jay populations in Ocala National
Forest, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix).

Gates as a locality for Scrub Jays. Brigham (1973) reported that Scrub

Jays could be found along SR 19 through the Forest. Westcott (1970)

found Scrub Jays at only a few sites in the Forest, and wrote that they

were common only at the southern edge of the Forest. He considered

most of the oak scrub without sand pines too dense to support many

Scrub Jays.

A. H. Howell saw several Scrub Jays in the Oeala National Forest

in March, 1938 (Biol. Sury. files).

Scrub Jay specimens are from one mile east of Alexsander Springs

(1, 1947), 2 miles west of Astor Park (1, 1947), and Fullerville (2,

1957), all in the southeastern portion of the Forest; and Fort Gates,

on Lake George (2, 1876-1877).

Present. I found Scrub Jays at 61 sites in Ocala National Forest

in 1981 and 1982. Sites 1-36 (Appendix) are in the L~ake George Ranger

District, north of SR 40; sites 37-61 are in the. Seminole Ranger

District, south of SR 40. The Scrub Jay populations were scattered

throughout the scrub portions of the Forest, but were concentrated in

three general areas: along FR 97, FR 75, and FR 31, north of

C-316; along FR 79, between SR 40 and FR 73; and along FR 66, between

FR 73 and FR 87. I investigated sites only along improved roads in the

Forest; there are doubtless many more S~crub Jays in less accessible

portions of the Forest.

Of the 61 sites in which I found Scrub Jays, 57 were in stands of

sand pines that were clearcut between 19655 and 1980. None were in

stands of mature sand pine. Scrub oaks and palmettoes regenerate

quickly from underground roots following clearing or burning, and the

oaks may be up to 2 m tall after 5 years. Sand pines, on the other

hand, can regenerate only from seeds, so regeneration takes longer.

Sand pines less than 2-4 m tall, or with canopy cover <50%, do not seem

to affect the density of Scrub Jays on a given site. However, dense

stands of sand pine greater than 3-4 m tall do not provide sulitable

Scrub Jay habitat t. That stage in regeneration usually begins 10-15

years after clearing. Therefore, because of the relatively rapid

regeneration of scrub oaks, and the relatively slow regrowth of sand

pines, clear-cuts provide suitable Scrub Jay habitat from about 5 years

(minimum of 3 years) after cutting, until 10-15 years after cutting,

when the sand pines form a dense, closed canopy. Most scrub in Ocala

National Forest is thus suitable for Scru'o Jays for a maximum of 10-12

years. In 1981-802, over half of the stands regenerated from 1975 to

1978 were occupied by Scrub Jays (Table 5), evidence that stands 4;-7

years old provide the best Scrub Jay haibitat in the Forest.

Once the scrub becomes too old and dense, Scrub Jays must move on

to colonize another, more recently cleared site. Thus, th~e Fores t

presents an ever-changing mosaic of habitat suitable for jays. I

predict thats 10 years fromn now, few,, if any, Scrub Jays will still be

present at the sites where I found jays in 1981 and 1982, but that jays

w-ill be present in many other sites.

Habitat use by Scrub Jays in Ocal~a National Forest is discussed

further in Chapters 3 and 4i.

I estimated the total population (P) of Scrub Jays in Ocala

National Forest with the following equationl: P = Ap iN ,

whertf A,~ = the total areai of all stands in the ith age class, p.: =

Table 5. Figures used to estimate total number of Florida Scrub
Jays at Ocala National Forest, Florida.

A. Assuming each stand with Scrub Jays has a population
density of jays equal to that of the census area with
the lowest population density (14.3 jays/40 ha)

(Year reseeded)


(jays/40 ha)


Proportion of stands
inhabited by Scrub Jays


Area (ha)


Totatl population = 2613 Scrub Jays

Table 5, continued.

B. Assuming each stand with Scrub Jays has
density of jays equal to that of the census

a population
area nearest it in age.

Proportion of stands
inhabited by Scrub Jays


(Year reseeded)


Es tima ted
(jays/40 h;

Area (ha)



Total population = 3436 Scrub Jays

the proportion of the area in a given age class supporting Scrub Jays,

and N. = the population density of Scrub Jays in stands of that age

class. The total areas of all stands in each age class were obtained

from the offices of the Seminole and Lake George Ranger Districts,

Ocala National Forest. For each age class, the proportion of the area

inhabited by Scrub Jays was assumed to be equal to the proportion of

stands in that age class inhabited by Scrub Jays (which assumes, in

turn, that stands with and without Scrub Jays are of the same average

sizes). I used two different sets of figures for the population

densities of Scrub Jays in each age class: 1) to obtain minimum

estimates, I assumed that all stands with Scrub Jays had a density of

14.3 birds/40 ha, the lowest density I found on my four study areas in

the Forest (see Chapter 3); 2) to obtain higher estimates, I assumed

that each stand had a Scrub Jay density equal to that of the census

area nearest it in age. I thus obtained estimates ranging from

2613-3436 Scrub Jays in Ocala National Forest (Table 5). In the past

few years, the Forest Service has increased the acreage of sand pines

harvested each year, so the total population of Scrub Jays in Ocala

National Forest may increase somewhat in the next few years.

Prior to the establishment of Ocala National Forest, and even into

the 1920's and 1930's, wildfires created natural openings in the sand

pine scrub. Some of the fires burned several hundred or even thousand

acres at a time, and Scrub Jays would have occupied the regenerating,

burned-ovier areas. Fires are now suppressed in the Forest, but

clear-cuts provide the samre sort of environment for Scrub Jays. As

long as current management practices are continued, the future of jays

in the Forest seems secure.

Okeechobee County (Figure 14)

Historical. Sprunt (1946, 1954, 1958) and Mlayr and Greenway

(1962) wrote that Scrub Jays were absent from the Kissimmee Prairie,

which covers much of Okeechobee Co. One egg set was collected at

Basinger in 1928. W. Hoxie (Biol. Sury. files) reported that Scrub

Jays were very rare around Fort Drum, August-November 1888.

Present. I found Scrub Jays at one site near Basinger (0keechobee

Co. 1). There seemed to be little scrub in the area.

There is quite a bit of scrub around Fort Drum, but I have

received only one report of Scrub Jays there--one bird seen 20 March

1982 (M. Allen, in litt.). Whether the bird was a vagrant or a local

resident is moot.

Orange County (Figure 22)

Historical. Scrub Jays have been reported in the literature from

Orlando (Howell 1932); northwest of Orlando (Schroder, in Sprunt

1946); and Zellwood (Howell 1932). D. J. Nicholson (in Sprunt 1954)

reported a marked diminution in numbers of Scrub Jays in the Orlando

area due to environmental changes. Scrub Jays were reported on every

Orlando Christmas Bird Count from 1967 to 1981, with highs of 18 in

1970 and 9 in 1977. No Scrub Jays were seen on the 1982 Orlando

Christmas count.

Scrub Jay specimens have been collected at Bay Ridge (1, 1957),

Orlando (1, 1953), 7 miles east of Orlando (1, 1945), 10-15 miles

southwest of Orlando (19, 1934-1946), and unspecified Orange

Co. locations (2, 1957). Egg sets were collected near Orlando (1,

Figure 22. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Orange (bottom) and
Seminole (top) Counties, Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay
populations, 1980-1983 (numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix);
triangles--formner Scrub Jay populations; circles--other towns and

1950), 5-6 miles west of Orlando (5, 1915-1922), 8-9 miles west of

Orlando (4, 1922-1930), 8.5-9 miles northwest of Orlando (2, 1922 and

1930), 2-3.5 miles east of Orlando (4, 1923-1928), 10-12 miles east of

Orlando (4, 1957-1960), Maitland (1, 1957), near Lockhart (1, 1929),

1.5-3 miles northwest of Lockhart (10, 1922-1925), and 1/2 and 2 miles

north of Vineland (2, 1960 and 1963). An Orange Co. road map from the

1920's shows Lockhart about 1 1/2 miles east of what is now the

junction of I-4 and the I-4-Beeline Connector (SW 1/4 See 6, T24S,

R29E), not at its present location about 6 miles northwest of Orlando.

The locations northwest of Lockhart and north of Vineland are in the

same general area as the ones 10-15 miles southwest of Orlando, so

totals of 19 specimens and 13 egg sets are known from that area.

Concerning an area 10 miles east of Orlando on SR 50,

D. J. Nicholson (unpublished field notes, 5 April 1960) wrote that the

site was then being cleared for houses, and that the site represented

"the last known breeding grounds of these jays in all of Orange

County!" Nicholson was clearly wrong about the site being the last

place with Scrub Jays in Orange Co. (see below), but his comments

indicate the problems faced by Scrub Jays in the county, and in Florida

in general.

Present. No Scrub Jays remain east of Orlando. Although there is

still some scrub in that area, most of it is sand pine scrub, and

unsuitable for Scrub Jays. The locations which in the 1920's were 5-8

miles west of Orlando are near the town of Orlovista, now only one mile

west of Orlando; I found no scrub at all in that area, or at Maitland.

Only one family of Scrub Jays was found southwest of Orlando

(Orange Co. 4); that site is about 3 miles northwest of the former

location of Lockhart. The Orange Co. Soil Survey (Soil Conservation

Service 1960) shows that a tract of scrub about 12 miles long

(north-south) and 2-3 miles wide (east-west) was once present in that

area, centered on Big Sand Lake, Nearly all of the natural vegetation

in that tract has been cleared for houses or citrus groves.

The largest population of Scrub Jays in Orange Co. is in the Rock

Springs Run State Reserve (Orange Co. 2), just to the northeast of

Wekiwa Springs State Park. Twelve Scrub Jays were found there in March

1981, and 19 in July 1983. Scattered patches of oak scrub, and a large

tract of sand pine scrub, are located in the north-central part of the

reserve. I estimate the total population of Scrub Jays in the reserve

to be 40-50 birds.

A fairly large population of Scrub Jays is present about 5 miles

southeast of Orlando (Orange Co. 5), but some of the scrub is scheduled

to be cleared for a power plant, beginning in 1983.

Small numbers of Scrub Jays can be found at an additional 5 sites

(Orange Co. 1, 3, 6, 7, 8) in Orange Co. Only the jays at Wekiwa

Springs State Park (7) and on the Walt Disney World property (3) are

protected, and there may not be more than 2 or 3 families of jays at

each of those locations.

Howell's (1932) Zellwood location is probably referrable to the

Bay Ridge site (Orange Co. 1). Some of the scrub there has been

cleared for houses.

Osceola County (Figure 23)

Historical. Sprunt (1946, 1954, 1958) and Mayr and Greenway

(1962) reported that Scrub Jays were absent from the Kissimmee Prairie,

which covers much of Osceola Co. One Scrub Jay, however, was found

dead on US 441 about 2 miles south of Yeehaw Junction in 1974 (Taylor

1982), and three jays were seen in the same area in 1982 (Paul 1982).

Present. A small population of Scrub Jays inhabits scrub along US

441, about 2 miles south of Yeehaw Junction (Osceola Co. 2), Yeehaw

Junction is in the middle of the Kissimmee Prairie. Another small,

isolated population is present in the southwest corner of Osceola

Co. (Osceola Co. 1).

There are numerous patches of oak scrub in the vicinity of

Kissimmee and Saint Cloud, but apparently none of them support Scrub

Jays (pers. obs.; Westcott 1970).

Palm Beach County (Figure 4)

Historical. Although Bryant (1859) saw no Scrub Jays south of

Jupiter, and Bendire (1895) reported that Scrub Jays were not to be

seen south of Lake Worth, Christy (1928) reported that Scrub Jays were

frequent along the highway from Stuart, Mfartin Co., to about 25 miles

south of Palm Beach, which would be near the Broward Co. line. Also,

Eastman (1950) wrote that Scrub Jays were present in the scrub west of

Delray, and north and south for several miles. Howell (1932) listed

Lake Worth, Jupiter, and West Palm Beach as locations of Scrub Jay

popular tions. Three Scrub Jays were reported at De'lray in 1924 by Rolt

and Sutton (1926).



110 mi

Yeehaw Junction6

My 2

Figure 23. Locations of Scrub Jay records in Osceola County,
Florida. Squares--locations of Scrub Jay populations, 1980-1983
(numbers refer to list of sites in Appendix); circles--other towns
and cities.

Scrub Jays have been seen on every Christmas Bird Count at West

Palm Beach since 1959. The maximum number recorded was 40 jays in

1972; no more than 15 have been seen on any count since then.

Palm Beach Co. Scrub Jay specimens are from Delray (1, 1924);

Jupiter (25, 1896-1921); Lake Worth (8, 1889-1920); Lantana (1,

1896); and Palm Beach and West Palm Beach (8, 1900-1948; and one,

undated); and unspecified locations (4, 1921-1923). There are 4 egg

sets from near Lantana in 1894, 2 from near Boynton in 1905, and one

collected "on road to Palm Beach" in 1922.

Single Scrub Jays were seen in Boca Raton on Breeding Bird Surveys

in 1968 and 1973.

Several pairs of Scrub Jays were seen at Juno and "in the pines

opposite Hypoluxo" in 1889 by M. M. Green (Biol. Sury. files).

J. J. Ryman (Biol. Sury. files, 1913) reported that Scrub Jays were

common 10 miles north of West Palm Beach (= near Juno Beach).

A. H. Howell (Bio1. Sury. files, 1918) found Scrub Jays to be numerous

"in the thick scrub just back of the beach" at Jupiter.

C. H. Plockelman (in litt.) has reported that Scrub Jays were

formerly present between Lake Worth and PGA Blvd in North Palm Beach,

but states that the area was extensively developed in the 1970's, and

jays are no longer present.

Present. Scrub Jays at one time were widespread in eastern Palm

Beach Co.; they were probably almost continuously distributed along the

Atlantic coastal ridge scrub.

Scrub Jays were found at 15 places in Palm Beach Co. in 1980-81.

The sites are clustered in the Boynton Beach-Delray Beach area (Palm

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