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November 14th, 2017



An excerpt from John James Audubon, an ornithologist who formed one of the finest documentations of birds in America in 1829.

On the Florida Scrub Jay:

       "This beautiful and lively bird is a constant resident in the south-western parts of Florida, from which country it seldom if ever removes to any great distance. It is never seen in the State of Louisiana, far less in that of Kentucky, and when CHARLES BONAPARTE asserts that it occurs in these districts, we must believe that he has been misinformed. It is so confined to the particular portions of Florida which it inhabits, that even on the eastern shores of that peninsula few are to be seen..."

       "The flight of the Florida Jay is generally performed at a short distance from the ground, and consists either of a single sailing sweep, as it shifts from one tree or bush to another, or of continuous flappings, with a slightly undulated motion, in the manner of the Magpie (Pica melanoleuca) or of the Canada Jay (Garrulus canadensis). Its notes are softer than those of its relative the Blue Jay (Garrulus cristatus), and are more frequently uttered. Its motions are also more abrupt and quicker. It is seen passing from one tree to another with expanded tail, stopping for a moment to peep at the intruder, and hopping off to another place the next minute. It frequently descends to the ground, along the edges of oozy or marshy places, to search for snails, of which, together with berries of various kinds, fruits and insects, its food consists. It is easily approached during the breeding season, but is more shy at other times."




List several ways you think birds help the environment.




This lesson will provide general information on bird’s and their anatomy that is helpful to being able for identification. The lesson also provides information on what the Florida Scrub Jay looks and sounds like as well as an overview to the project.


1. The night before this activity assign students to read the brief article titled A Bird Up Close and highlight at least one they will share with their shoulder partners the following day. The teacher may post the link on the class website or print copies for each student.

2. At the beginning of class ask students to share their facts then project the link above and review the parts of the bird’s anatomy.

3. Project image of the Florida Scrub Jay and ask a volunteer to describe and compare to image mockingbird.

  1. 1st slide Florida Scrub Jay

  2. 2nd slide Florida Scrub Jay next to Mockingbird

4. Next, play the audio of the Florida Scrub Jay call found at this link.

Ask volunteers to describe the call and compare to that of the mockingbird.

5. Review the definition of endemic and explain to students that the Florida Scrub Jay is the only bird that is endemic to our state.

After the lesson, navigate to the following websites and open a discussion about identifying birds based on their anatomy, behaviors, and calls. Use these resources to provide open reading, or have your students take turns reading aloud.





In your opinion, what is the most important role of birds?

Continue to check back

for more resources.

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