Florida Scrub Jay

A week ago today, after our Sunday Point and Shoot Nature Photographer field trip to Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Viera Florida, my daughter Sally and I drove out to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge’s Scrub Ridge Trail where we had heard a group of eight Florida Scrub Jays were hanging out and coming in to hikers. And indeed, as soon as we entered their territory near where the loop trail turns back, eight Jays came flying in and surround us, often perching or approaching on foot to within four feet. Florida Scrub Jays do that, especially when people have been feeding them peanuts. It is, I should point out, illegal to feed the endangered Florida Scrub Jay, and the trail is well posted to that effect. I have a friend who was fined $150 a few years ago when he got caught on this very trail. People still do it though, and the Jays come to people on the off chance that they will catch one who is willing to ignore the law. I should also say that Florida Scrub Jays are curious and gregarious birds (not to mention fearless) even without the feeding, and would be quite likely to “mob” any intruder on their territory, including human beings. A close encounter with this subtly beautiful bird is always a special treat, a Sunday blessing on a day when we had already had many. Sony RX10iv at 600mm and Program Mode. Processed in Polarr.

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