Mockingbird – Courtesy: Image of Bonnie Taylor Barry
TALLAHASSEE, Florida – The Mockingbird has been the state bird of Florida since 1927, and now 94 years later, the Sunshine State has introduced three bills to change it.
In September, Tampa State Senator Jeff Brandes tabled a concurrent Senate resolution “rescinding the Mockingbird’s designation as a state bird.”
This petition was created by Travis Horn, with a Tampa radio host to replace the bird. They are working alongside the efforts of Senator Brande.
âWe think we deserve a bird that is more representative of this state, which 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.
However, several bird enthusiasts have expressed their opinion on which bird should replace the Mockingbird. West Palm Beach State Senator Tina Polsky introduced Senate Bill 378, in addition to 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 scrub in different parts of the country, but not Florida scrub. It’s a bird you won’t find anywhere else in the world other than Florida.
On Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to reiterate its 2008 position that the osprey should be chosen as the new state bird. In 2008, their position was followed by a grueling year-long investigation of schools in Florida, which did not have the Florida scrub jay as an option.
“We have already worked a lot with this,” said FWC President Rodney Barreto. “If we don’t mind dusting it off and approving it by resolution here.”
Audubon Florida’s executive director said the organization, which primarily focuses on the rehabilitation and conservation of birds in Florida, has no opinion on what the new state bird should be. She said the top four contenders are: osprey, Florida jay, 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 ongoing petition and the website for choosing which new bird will represent the Sunshine State, click here.
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Mike has over 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations. He once had his own agency and worked with some of the biggest brands in the world.