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State Symbols: Official State Birds and Flower Designations of the 50 States
Florida Symbols, State Bird & State Flower
Adopted in 1927.
Senate Concurrent Resolution No.3 of the 1927 legislative session designated the mockingbird as the State Bird.
The Mimus polyglottos, as the mockingbird is known scientifically, is about ten inches in length, including its relatively long tail. It has a light gray coat and a whitish underside. Its wings and tail are darker gray with white patches. The male and females look alike. Juvenile has spotted breast.
The common mockingbird is a superb songbird and mimic. Its own song has a pleasant lilt, varied and repetitive. Often it will sing all night long, especially in bright springtime moonlight. Unmated male mockingbirds sing more than mated ones. Both sexes sing in the fall to claim winter feeding territories. These areas are often different than their spring breeding territories.
The song of the mockingbird is, in fact, a medley of the calls of many other birds, each repeated several times. It will imitate other species' songs and calls, squeaky gates, pianos, sirens, barking dogs, etc. Each imitation is repeated two or three times, then another song is started, all in rapid succession. In the above sample audio file, the songs of four distinct species were recorded in the span of about seven seconds. It is common for an individual bird to have as many as 25-30 songs in its repertory.
The mockingbird is also known as a fierce protector of its nest and environment. It is sometimes seen swooping down on a dog, cat or predator that may be venturing too close to the bird's protected territory.
Abundance: Common urban bird
Length: 10 inches
Weight: 1¾ ounces
Wing Span: 14 inches
General description: Diurnal, omnivore, altricial
Sexual maturity : 1 year
Mating season: Spring and early summer. Mockingbirds usually nest twice a year sometimes 3 or 4 times when conditions are favorable.
Breeding territory: 1 pair per 20 acres
Gestation: Eggs hatch in 12-13 days, the young fledge 11-13 days after that.
Number of young: Eggs are blue-green with brown markings. The 2-6, usually 3-5, eggs per nest are a pale blue-greenish with brown spots.
Nest Location: Ground-low nesting
Nest Type: Open-cup The nest, a joint male/female project, is a bulky, open cup of grass, twigs and rootlets carelessly arranged in a dense.
Migration Status: Permanent resident. This year-round resident is known for its fierce defense of the family nest.
Diet: Mockingbirds require open grassy areas for their feeding, thick, thorny shrubs for hiding the nest and high perches where the male can sing and defend his territory. Gardens are among its favorite dwelling places especially if winter berries are available. The Mockingbird's primary diet is insects (beetles, ants, grasshoppers and spiders),berries and seed.
Flower by: Santalady
Adopted on November 15, 1909.
The orange blossom was designated State Flower by Concurrent Resolution November 15, 1909 Legislature. It is one of the most fragant flowers in Florida. Millions of these white flowers perfume the atmosphere throughout central and south Florida during orange blossom time.
The sweet orange, like most citrus, is native to subtropical Southeast Asia. The Arabians were the first people to mention citrus in their writings, and our word for this fruit is derived from their Sanskirt name. The Moors brought these plants to Spain, where they were used medicinally and in religious services. Although the bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) reached Europe by the 1000s, the sweet orange did not arrive in India until 1330, and was planted in Versailles in 1421. Columbus transported oranges to South America in 1493, and by 1587 Cuba was covered with these beautiful trees. It was the Spanish Missionaries who brought this highly prized fruit to California, establishing the first orange groves in the 1700s.
Leaf: The leaves are shiny and leathery, oblong to elliptic, up to 4" long, and have narrow wings on their petioles (leaf stems).
Flower: Orange blossoms are white, very fragrant, and arranged in clusters of 1-6. They bloom in spring and give rise to oranges the following autumn or winter. Last year's oranges often are still on the trees when the new flowers are blooming.
Fruit: A large, round multiple of drupes that is 4 to 5 inches in diameter. The fruit is roundish, golden-yellow or tawny, and several-celled, with a fleshy, juicy pulp; the seeds white and several. The cysts in the rind are convex (L.). The fruit has a very distinctive citrus smell.
Twig: The twigs on many orange cultivars are thorny.
Bark: Bark of a greenish-brown color, having axillary spines on the branches.
Form: The sweet orange is a compact evergreen tree 20-30' tall with a rounded, symmetrical crown spreading 15-20' or so.
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