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Florida high schoolers push to make 'Scrub Jay' new state bird

State lawmakers are reviewing bills that would 'scrub' the mockingbird of its title.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For 95 years the mockingbird has reigned supreme as Florida's state bird.

A group of high schoolers in Seminole County are leading the charge for the Florida Scrub Jay to take over the mantle.

"None of my friends expected it to go this far, but I think it's awesome because the scrub jay is a threatened species, so any attention we can give to the Scrub Jay will help conservation efforts of the precious scrub it comes from," said Seminole High School Wildlife Conservation Club Member Navya Sharma.

Florida Fish and Wildlife reports it is the only species of bird that only lives in Florida - it's as Sunshine State as it gets, but it's lost 90% of its habitat over the past century.

The mockingbird, on the other hand, is one of the state's most common bird, known for its pipes that Duval Audubon Society says can produce up to 200 different sounds.

However, it is also the state bird of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas.

The Florida Audubon Society isn't taking a stance on the state bird, but is happy to see it's an issue state leaders are seriously considering.

"Here at Audubon, we choose not to choose between our kids," said Florida Audubon Executive Director Julie Wraithmell. "We hope the discussion about state bird, regardless of what's chosen, will catalyze in more people getting involved in making Florida a better place for wildlife and a better place for us."

This isn't the first effort to name the Scrub Jay the state bird.

Bills were proposed in 2016 and 2022 without success.

A bill with bipartisan cosponsors was introduced in the house. A partner bill was introduced in the senate.

Both bills have been assigned to committees, the same place they died last year.

Only time will tell if this bird will soar to higher heights.

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