October 2, 2023

Feathers Fly Over State Bird

Sen. Jeff Brandes wants a new state bird.

The St. Petersburg Republican filed a proposal (SCR 324) for the 2022 legislative session that would rescind the designation of the mockingbird as the state bird, a perch it has held since 1927.

In tweets Thursday and Friday defending his proposal, Brandes said the state should have a bird that people identify as being from Florida.

“I should mention that the mockingbird is also the state bird of 4 other states,” Brandes tweeted on Friday. “The mockingbird apparently had a very good lobbyist.”

On the Department of State website, the mockingbird, or Mimus polyglottos, is described as a “year-round Florida resident,” that is “helpful to humans because it usually feeds on insects and weed seeds” and is “known for its fierce defense of the family nest.”

The bird is also described as a “superb songbird” and mimic. “Its own song has a pleasant lilting sound and is, at times, both varied and repetitive,” the website said.

“Often, the mockingbird sings all night long, especially under bright springtime moonlight.”

Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas also claim the mockingbird as their state bird. Brandes’ proposal does not suggest a replacement bird.

Florida has a range of state symbols, including a stone, Agatized Coral; a beverage, orange juice; an animal, the Florida panther; a marine mammal, the manatee; and a reptile, the American alligator.

Tags: News Service of Florida

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