Mary Keith, an organizer of the Florida Birding and Nature Festival

by | Sep 29, 2021

Mary Keith—the field trip coordinator for the Florida Birding and Nature Festival, taking place Oct 15-17, based at the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, Florida—recalls first becoming enchanted with birding decades ago, as the daughter of botanists, growing up in rural Pennsylvania. Keith outlines the aspects of birds and their behavior she still finds fascinating all these years later, as a longtime resident of central Florida. When it’s observed that her ongoing ornithological obsession led to her becoming president of the Tampa Audubon Society, Keith provides a brief overview of that organization, and its mission. This and a listener’s phoned-in inquiry, move the conversation directly into addressing the history and evolution of the Florida Birding and Nature Festival, which actually began several years ago, then “went away,” Keith says, then was re-launched in 2016. She offers info on the structure and particulars of this year’s Festival, including COVID protocols; for example, the Festival will present seven seminars on Saturday 10/15 and seven more on Sunday 10/16—but delivered by Zoom only, and registrants receive links to those seminars, to watch at their leisure. She touches on the Keynote speakers, Craig Pittman on the Friday, and Clay Taylor on the Saturday, along with the array of field trips, which vary by location, mode of transportation: walk/hike, car, boat, canoe. [Photo of Roseate Spoonbill: Mary M. Schaefer] (,,


ALSO: I also spoke briefly with Father Andrew Heyes, Of St. Clement Episcopal Church, in Tampa, which—this Saturday, Oct. 2–will offer a Blessing Of The Animals, extending a 34-year tradition. Father Andrew outlined the history of the Blessing there, while explaining why he thinks St. Clement is considered a particularly animal-friendly church. Clearly, it’s not unrelated to Father Andrew’s dog, Winston, a high-profile figure who writes a column, “Words of Winston,” for the church’s magazine, The Anchor.  Additionally, he noted Winston is a rescue, with aspirations to become a DJ, and who refers to humans as “peeps.” Father Andrew describes the COVID-safe methods through which folks can participate in Saturday’s Blessing Of The Animals, at 10am, via the church’s YouTube page or Facebook page (streaming the Blessing as a Facebook Live broadcast), or a drive-thru Blessing at the church itself: 706 W 113th Ave, Tampa, FL 33612. (,

COMEDY CORNER: Alex Edelman’s “Koko The Gorilla” (portion)(

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

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


Listen Online Now:


| Open Player in New Window

Sign up for Updates

Get weekly updates about upcoming shows and events!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Talking Animals. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Archives by Date

In Memoriam

Otis McGarr
(Nov. 1989 – Jan. 4, 2006)

John Taylor
(Sept. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 2011)