TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – No more than 9,500 scrub jays are believed to be flitting about Florida, the only place in the world where the blue-and-grayish-brown birds can be found.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the loneliest scrub jay population of all may be the three males living in Hillsborough County, down from four just last summer.
Scrub jays numbered as many as 45,600 in the late 1800s. They don’t migrate and they can’t adapt to terrain other than sandy soil with sparse scrub and short trees. Their habitat is disappearing because of developments both natural and man-made.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is partnering to rebuild the scrub jay population in Hillsborough County and across Florida so the bird might someday be removed from the federal threatened species list.