Nancy Murrah, CEO of The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay

It’s all too rare for “Talking Animals” guests to join me in studio–I typically interview them by phone or, occasionally, via Skype. So it was an uncommon treat to stand across from Nancy Murrah—the CEO of The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay—while we chatted on-air, and even more uncommon that during this conversation, Murrah was holding a red-tailed hawk named Matilda. At the outset, Murrah explained exactly what a raptor is, what the key traits are, and what these birds’ prey typically is. She also touches on the raptors that would be involved in falconry. Murrah recounted how she got interested in raptors, tracing her path of joining the Audubon Society, to becoming exposed to—and enchanted by—the birds she’s become so devoted to rescuing and rehabbing, to how she ended up as the honcho of the Raptor Center (all under the watchful eye of Matilda). She addressed the number of raptors (and other wildlife) treated byThe Raptor Center in a given year, the circumstances that lead to a raptor needing rehab, the most common injuries—and the monumental logistical challenges of nursing these birds back to health sans an actual rehabilitation facility, which means Raptor Center volunteers have to drive great distances each week to other Florida facilities outfitted with flight cages and other equipment. She went on to elaborate on the need for the Raptor Center to have its own fully-equipped facility, and outlined the three-stage plan to create one. To help underwrite this plan, there are various fundraising measures on the horizon, including the inaugural Wonders of Wildlife Festival, taking place March 23 at E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin, and Murrah described some of the educational programs, animal shows, and exhibits that will be offered at the Festival. She also noted that the Raptor Center welcomes new volunteers with all sorts of backgrounds, interests, and skills. (http://www.raptorcenteroftampa.org, https://www.facebook.com/events/240626406831559/)

The interview with Nancy Murrah (& Matilda) streamed on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/duncan.strauss/videos/10157583703234218/

ALSO: I spoke with Susana Arneson, director of development at The Humane Society of the Nature Coast. She discussed how the 50-year-old organization has essentially run out of space to accommodate all the animals they want to help, have a campaign underway to expand their facilities, and have various fundraising efforts in place to finance that campaign—including a golf event on March 28. (https://humanerescue.org, https://www.facebook.com/events/986304241493318/)

COMEDY CORNER:  Andy Ritchie’s  “Balthazar”

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

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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