Keith Wilkins & Melissa Dollard, of Seaside Seabird Sanctuary

by | Nov 7, 2018

Keith Wilkins and Melissa Dollard—the Director of Operations and Hospital Supervisor, respectively, at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, in Indian Shores, FL that rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured and orphaned wild birds—explain the brief history of the sactuary, founded in 2016, clarifying the differences between Seaside and a similarly-named entity  (Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary) that previously operated for some 40 years at the same location. Wilkins and Dollard each offer a bit of their own histories before arriving at Seaside, including Dollard—a licensed rehabilitator—detailing exactly what that means, and what animals this allows her to treat. Responding to my observation that the Sanctuary’s Dr. Marie L. Farr Avian Hospital appears to be the heart, if not the soul, of the operation, Dollard presents a verbal guided tour of the facility, noting how many birds (2300-2400) are typically treated there annually and the most common ailments (injuries from fishing line and hooks). Wilkins and Dollard addressed how it works when the birds are healed—the Sanctuary has a rate of 43% successful rehabilitation, Wilkins says—and released, or if not candidates for release, become permanent residents of Seaside or are transferred to other facilities. The pair acknowledge that, while “Seabird” is part of the operation’s name, they do also treat raptors. Wilkins and Dollard note that the Sanctuary also functions as a place to visit for birders and others, something akin to a full-blown tourist attraction–and as a 501 (c )(3) nonprofit, relies on donations to generate the funds needed to perform all this work. (

The interview with Keith Wilkins & Melissa Dollard streamed live on Facebook, which you can watch here:



ALSO: I spoke with Dr. Heather Judkins, assistant professor of biology at USF St. Petersburg, and one of the organizers of an international conference on cephalopods (octopus, squid, etc) that the campus is hosting in the coming days, a prestigious opportunity in that the conference only takes place every three years. (



COMEDY CORNER:  Eddie Izzard’s “Horse Whisperer” (portion)   (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross”


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