Habitat structure for a scrub specialist

To understand Florida Scrub-Jay habitat structure at Avon Park Air Force Range

Florida Scrub-Jays (FSJs) rely on fire to maintain the medium height scrub they prefer. In 2019, Archbold scientists began assessing potential FSJ habitat at Avon Park Air Force Range to understand existing habitat quality and structure in relation to fire. Combining this information with demography data helps land managers make decisions that maximize high-quality habitat, encouraging population growth and helping to save the rarest of the rare.

Major Findings & Impact

Because the structure jays prefer is maintained by fire, the suitability of an area will change from too short, to optimal, to too tall as time since fire progresses. These assessments help us guide the US Air Force's management of the oak scrub habitat at Avon Park Air Force Range.

Project Details

More about this project

Data and Analysis Types

Qualitative and quantitative metrics of habitat structure

Primary Location(s)

Avon Park Air Force Range

Years Active

2019 to present

Featured Publications

“Time since fire is an imperfect surrogate for habitat structure, and jays are concerned about habitat structure. When scrub becomes too tall—usually about 20 years after a fire—the jays inevitably disappear.” – Dr. Reed Bowman, Emeritus Research Biologist

Collaborators & Funders

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service