Mike’s Monday Pics – 2/19/24

If you haven’t guessed from the recent “reruns” sent in the GBP Note emails lately I was out of town for the past two weeks.  Karen and I were on a Field Guides’ excursion, “The Birds and Wines of Chile and Argentina”.  Needless to say, it was a unique experience; I’ll tell you all about it as soon as I get through some of the 4,300 photos I took.  Until then here’s some pics from our January trip to Florida.

We enjoy getting out of the Chicago weather in January so we drive down to visit friends and family in Florida.  We’ve birded many places in the central Florida area and this year was no exception.  One day while we were out we bumped into some Floridian birders who told us that we could find Florida Scrub-Jays at the Helen and Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary Trail in Rockledge.  The Florida Scrub Jay is listed as “Threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act because its population has declined dramatically because its habitat shrinking – its scrubby habit is being turned into homes and commercial property.

As we walked into the Cruickshank Sanctuary we weren’t really sure where to look for these colorful birds, but no matter, they found us!  These Scrub-Jays are very habituated to humans (the sanctuary is surrounded by homes) and we guess people regularly feed them.  Shortly after walking in one of them hopped down the path right towards us!


Since we didn’t give it any food it kept on hopping right past us and then it flew up into a nearby shrub, giving us some great looks.


Notice that the two birds above are both banded on their legs.  Here’s a nice closeup of one of these striking birds (if it looks familiar to you I used this same picture to illustrate the bird’s nictitating membrane a few weeks ago).


As we walked on, another Florida Scrub Jay found us and this one had no fear!  In fact it jumped right on Karen’s hat and then flew over to my hat.  Now that’s a close encounter with a bird.




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I hope you guys left him a good tip!