The northern mockingbird commonly found throughout much of North America has been the shared state bird for Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, but that may change.
New legislation presented by Miami Republican Senator Alexis Calatayud posits that the American flamingo would be a much better fit as the official state bird of Florida.
Through verbal surveying, many Florida residents and Florida natives were unaware that their state bird was the mockingbird. Most people said that they did not even recognize the mockingbird as being Florida’s state bird because the flamingo is so commonly planted at many attractions in Florida.
Just imagine the opening screens for the iconic “Miami Vice” TV show. It seemed as if unconsciously Florida residents had declared long ago that the flamingo was the state bird.
This past December the Senate Bill to make the American flamingo the Florida’s state bird was filed. The bill is now placed in a position for further action in the Legislature.
SB 918, otherwise known as the American Flamingo, cleared the Government Oversight and Accountability Committee by 3-2 vote and is set to heard next by the Fiscal Policy Committee.
Senator Tina Polsky from Boca Raton and the Democratic Party have voted against the proposal and instead proposed SB 162 as an alternative proposal for the designation of the Florida state bird. Alternatively, Sen. Polsky has proposed that the Florida scrub jay become Florida’s state bird.
Last October the opposing bill that supports the progression making the Florida scrub-jay become the state bird presented by Senator Polsky was filed and later referred to the Environment and Natural Resources and Fiscal Policy committees.
While there were opposing votes for SB 918, there is companion legislation in the Florida House of Representatives. House Bill 753 would also make the American flamingo Florida’s state bird and supersede the mockingbird. HB 753 was brought to attention by Republican Rep. James Mooney Jr. Mooney’s American flamingo bill is currently in the Agriculture, Conservation and Resiliency Subcommittee.
The American flamingo is listed as a tropical bird and Florida is one of the more tropical states in America seems to be the perfect fit, according to Mooney. When asked, most Floridians are very accepting and enthusiastic about the possible change to come. Within the next few weeks, the bill will be acted upon further to potentially become effective on July 1.