Audubon Florida coordinates the Jay Watch citizen science program statewide. We train and support volunteers to conduct scientific surveys that measure annual nesting success and count the total number of Florida Scrub-Jays at more than 50 sites in 19 counties. The success of the Jay Watch program, and the program’s contributions to the recovery of Florida Scrub-Jays, depends upon dedicated volunteer citizen scientists like you, your family, and your friends.
Remarkably, in just 2015 alone, 277 volunteers invested over 3,000 hours sharpening their skills in onsite trainings and performing field surveys across the state.
Florida Scrub-Jays: Nowhere Else on Earth
The Florida Scrub-Jay is our state’s only endemic bird species, found nowhere else in the world. It was listed as federally Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act in 1987, largely due to loss of its native scrub habitat and decades of fire suppression that allowed the scrub to become overgrown and unsuitable for Scrub-Jays. While mowing of too-tall oak scrub can open bare sand patches needed by the jays for predator detection and for caching acorns, fire is still needed to remove debris left on the ground after mowing. And some of the rarer scrub plants require fire to set seed and reproduce.
Just how threatened are Florida Scrub-Jays?
The state’s population of Florida Scrub-Jays is estimated to have declined by 90% since the early 1800s. Between 1993 and 2010 our state’s Scrub-Jay population declined another 26%, mostly on public lands where they are generally better protected.
What are you waiting for? Get Involved!
- Attend one of our onsite training sessions in 2018, to be held in nine counties across the Florida peninsula. Contact Audubon's Jacqui Sulek for more information about our trainings.
- Join a Jay Watch survey team: contact Audubon's Marianne Korosy
- Donate to Jay Watch - support a program that directly trains volunteers, supports survey teams, analyzes, and compiles statewide survey data for use by site managers, wildlife agencies, and researchers.
Training Locations and Information:
Our half-day trainings are held in the morning, typically beginning at 8:00-8:30 a.m. Trainings usually consist of a classroom session providing an overview of Florida Scrub-Jay biology and behavior followed by a field session in which participants practice the Jay Watch survey protocol with wild Florida Scrub-Jays onsite. The 2018 training schedule will be posted here in March 2018. Trainings are projected to be scheduled at these locations:
- Duette Preserve, Manatee County
- Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek State Park and FFA Leadership Training Center, Polk County
- Lyonia Preserve, Volusia County
- Cross Florida Greenway, Marion County
- Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Martin County
- Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park and Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Lee County
- Shamrock Park, Sarasota County
- Royce Ranch/FWC, Highlands County
- Savannas Preserve State Park, St. Lucie County