That is how long scrub-jays have been in Florida. The scientific community believes they made their way over here from the west coast of North America about 2 millions years ago. At that time, the Gulf of Mexico wasn’t totally filled with water yet so creatures and plants made their way across the vast stretches of land between what is now California and what is now Florida.
This is why Central Florida has the habitat it does and contains some of the creatures and plants it does as well. Parts of Central Florida look desert-like because they once connected to the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and California directly. It is why we have cacti, scrub-jays and in south Florida it is why they still have scorpions.
There are thought to have been 50,000+ scrub-jays in Florida as recently as 50 years ago. We are now down to a number closer to 5,000. They resided here for two million years and along comes man with his insatiable desire to spread and conquer his environment. Scrub which was once filled with scrub-jays and all kinds of exotic plants were clear-cut in favor of suburban housing communities and citrus crops.
The future is bleak for our little blue and grey friend. Although the scrub-jay is a protected species, their habitat is being lost all the time. Developers can basically buy licenses to “take” birds, ie., destroy their land resulting in their inevitable death.
Personally, I don’t understand why every conservationist and animal rights person isn’t tackling this problem as it is one that can clearly be solved. But it is just a few years from being too late to do anything about it.