The 2013 Florida Scrub-Jay Festival alights at a new location Saturday, March 2, at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County. This is the first time the event has been in southeast Florida. While this is the fourth annual Scrub-Jay Festival, its location moves around the state from year to year.
The festival celebrates the only bird species unique to Florida and its interesting habitat. The largest amount of protected scrub-jay habitat in southeast Florida is inside the park.
“The Florida scrub-jay is a true Florida native, and scrub-jays are fun to watch because they are bold, curious and have interesting social lives,” said Craig Faulhaber, the Florida scrub-jay conservation coordinator at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “Scrub-jays live in and depend on scrub and scrubby flatwoods habitat characterized by shrub-sized species of oaks,” he said. “They eat acorns when insects are scarce.”
The free, family-friendly Florida Scrub-Jay festival will include guided walks, a Scrub-Jay Q&A with a panel of experts, hay rides, kids’ activities, entertainment and presentations. It is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., although “early bird” walks start at 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.
The Florida scrub-jay is listed as a federally threatened species, with its population in decline due to habitat loss. Wildfires historically maintained the shrubby open habitat that scrub-jays need to survive, and the FWC and its partners now use prescribed fire to maintain this scrub habitat.
“Scrub habitat is important for people as well as scrub-jays,” Faulhaber said. “Sandy soils, like those found in scrub habitat, recharge our aquifer, which is where we get our drinking water.”
The Florida Scrub-Jay Festival is a collaborative effort of multiple conservation partners, including the FWC. For more information on Florida scrub-jays and the festival, please go to MyFWC.com/Wildlife and select “Scrub-Jay Festival.” Additional park and event information is available at