TALLAHASSEE, Florida – The Mockingbird has been the State Bird of Florida since 1927 and now 94 years later, three bills have been introduced to change the State Bird of Florida.
In September, Tampa State Senator Jeff Brandes tabled a concurrent Senate resolution “rescinding the Mockingbird’s designation as a state bird.”
Travis Horn created this petition, with a Tampa radio host to replace the Mockingbird and works alongside Senator Brandes’ efforts.
âWe think we deserve a bird that is more representative of this state, that is flashy, colorful and we don’t think the Mockingbird does,â Horn said, âWe don’t have a favorite bird, we don’t ‘we’re not trying to express a particular bird, we’re saying let the schoolchildren choose.
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However, bird enthusiasts already have their thoughts on which bird should replace the mockingbird. West Palm Beach State Senator Tina Polsky introduced Senate Bill 378, along with a House Bill to name the Florida scrub jay as the state’s new bird .
âMy favorite is the Florida scrub-jay,â said Cathy Brown, executive director of the Florida scrub-jay Consortium and trail in Clermont. âIt’s unique to Florida only. There are other brush in different parts of the country, but not Florida brush. It’s a bird you won’t find anywhere else in the world other than Florida.
However, last Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to reiterate its 2008 position that the osprey should be the state’s new bird. Their position in 2008 was followed by a year-long investigation of schools in Florida, which did not have the Florida jay as an option, activists said.
“We’ve done a lot of work with this already,” said FWC manager Rodney Barreto. “If we don’t mind dusting it off and approving it by resolution here.”
Julie Wraithmell, executive director of Audubon Florida, said the organization, which focuses on the conservation and rehabilitation of birds in Florida, has no opinion on what the new state bird should be, but said the top four contenders are: jay, osprey, roseate spoonbill and flamingo.
âJust kidding on Audubon, we are the bird people that we don’t choose between our children. I think these are all good proposals, âsaid Wraithmell. âI would encourage people if you are part of a scrub jay team you really have to care about land management and prescribed burns that keep the habitat healthy. If you are an osprey team you have to worry about climate change and if you are a pink spoonbill and flamingo team you have to worry about restoring the Everglades.
For more information on the petition and the website to choose a new state bird, click here.
Plus, vote in our News 6 poll on which bird you would like to see as Florida’s new state bird if the legislation is passed.
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