State Bird Squabble Returns to Legislature in 2023

TALLAHASSEE -- The state bird battle is coming back to the Legislature next year.

For years, lawmakers have introduced bills to dump the Northern mockingbird as Florida's state bird. It's also the official bird in four other states.

For 2023, Winter Haven Representative Sam Killebrew has filed House Bill 1 to make the Florida scrub jay the state bird.

It lives exclusively in Florida and is on the federal endangered species list. According to Killebrew's bill, the mockingbird has been recognized as state bird since 1927.

The Northern mockingbird has had high-profile supporters and opponents in Florida. Marion Hammer, recently retired Tallahassee lobbyist for the National Rifle Association's Florida arm, has been a supporter of the mockingbird. Jack Harris, longtime morning host at WFLA radio in Tampa, has opposed the mockingbird and called for a "mock" election of elementary school students to choose a new avian representative of the Sunshine State.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Photo: Canva

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