© 2019 by Florida Geographic Alliance

#FLGeoWeek

THURSDAY

November 16th, 2017

HABITAT

OF THE SCRUB JAY

An excerpt from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Entry on The Florida Scrub Jay

       "The Florida scrub-jay is the only species of bird that is unique to Florida.  Scrub-jays inhabit sand pine and xeric oak scrub, and scrubby flatwoods, which occur in some of the highest and driest areas of Florida – ancient sandy ridges that run down the middle of the state, old sand dunes along the coasts, and sandy deposits along rivers in the interior of the state.  Scrub-jays do best in areas that contain large quantities of oak shrubs that average 3.28-6.56 feet (one to two meters) (C. Faulhaber pers comm. 2011)."

"The primary threats to the Florida scrub-jay are habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation from development and agriculture.  Much of the scrub-jay's habitat has been altered for agricultural lands and development (C. Faulhaber pers comm. 2011).  Habitat fragmentation is steadily increasing, and in turn causes populations to become smaller and more isolated.  Increasing fragmentation causes populations to spread further apart.  As populations become further apart, fewer scrub-jays are able to travel between the patches of habitat as they typically do not travel long distances (C. Faulhaber pers comm. 2011).  Small populations are at risk of disappearing because of this.  Fire suppression degrades the scrub-jay’s habitat, as the habitat becomes too dense and tall to support the species.  The scrub-jay population has declined 90% in the past century due to these threats (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).  Vehicle strikes are particularly dangerous to the population as the rate at which breeders die exceeds the rate at which young scrub-jays are produced (Johnson et al. 2009)."

The Florida scrub-jay is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  It is also protected as a Threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule .  Prescribed burning is an essential element to conserving the Florida scrub-jay.

 
 

CLASS STARTER:

EARLY BIRD

Using their device students will look up the word “habitat” and record the definition here.

TODAY'S LESSON

Purpose:

Students will watch the Archbold Biological Station video titled “At Home in the Florida Scrub” to learn more about the Florida Scrub Jay and the habitat that is critical to its survival. (Special Note: The teacher should view the video first to make sure they can clarify any questions students may ask.)

Literature Connection:

To reinforce what students learned in the video they will complete a reading activity using a Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education tabloid that focuses on the Florida Scrub Jay and its habitat.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will learn about the habitat that the Florida Scrub Jay needs to survive

  • Students will learn about what makes the Florida Scrub Jay unique

  • Students will identify the location of the Florida Scrub Jay’s habitat

Materials:

  • Blue Book

  • Glue Sticks

  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Have students read Tampa Bay Times Newspapers in Education tabloid: Celebrating Tampa Bay’s Wildlife and Habitats

  2. Reread the definition of “Habitat” and direct students to share with their shoulder partner their Memory Clue for “Habitat.”

  3. Ask for volunteers to share with whole group.

  4. Explain to students they will view the video called “At Home in the Florida Scrub.” This video provides information on the bird itself, the Florida scrub habitat, and research conducted to help with its survival.

  5. Provide each student with the Video Viewing Guide Handout and direct them to glue the handout into their notebooks.

  6. View the video and allow time for students to complete the Viewing Guide.

  7. Once completed ask students to share their answers with whole group; clarify any questions they may have.

  8. Post the video so students may watch again on their own device.


 

Photos of the Archbold Biological Station by Elizabeth Smith

 
 

AFTER-CLASS REFLECTIONS:

LEAVING THE NEST

What’s the most difficult part of Memory Clue? Thinking of idea? Or drawing the idea? How can you be more successful at thinking or drawing the idea?

Continue to check back

for more resources.