As we go to press we have learned the wonderful news that our former ‘Meet the Birds’ star ‘Georgie’ the Barn Owl has been chosen as the winner of the 2009 ‘Lady Gray’l Award’ awarded annually to owls considered to have “made a difference” by contributing to the spread of knowledge about owls to the general public, as well as a new understanding of owl biology, behaviour and vocalizations, etc. This award is named in memory of the legendary Great Grey Owl ‘Lady Gray’l’ which for 21 years spent her entire lifetime living and working with her equally legendary owner, Dr. Bob Nero, touching the lives of untold thousands of people, giving researchers new insights into the life of Great Grey Owls, and raising money for owl research through hundreds of school visits and lectures. Those who knew him will agree that ‘Georgie’ did much the same for Barn Owls.
A small display of ‘Georgie’s’ portrait and two of his moulted primary feathers is to be mounted in the Owl Hall of Fame at the Houston Nature Centre – a fitting tribute to a very special bird.
We reproduce ‘Georgie’s citation below and thank the Hall of Fame judges for giving him this marvellous recognition.
“Ambassador for the World Owl Trust’s owl conservation efforts, Georgie the Barn Owl was an undoubted star. He flew in the Trust’s “Meet The Birds” programs on the Muncaster Castle lawn in England for over a million people between 1990 and his passing in 2003 at age 13.
After capturing the audience’s attention with his beauty and quirky character, the portal was opened to educate them about the precipitous decline of his species in the UK and the Trust’s efforts to help endangered owls in the UK and around the globe. He also appeared at hundreds of lectures and television appearances with his human, Trust founder and 2007 Champion of Owls award winner Tony Warburton.
Georgie’s fame and beauty culminated in his face adorning Britain’s first postage stamp of the new Millennium. Everyone fell under the spell of his presence and when in London for the presentation of an award to Muncaster Castle, Georgie stole the show even in the company of some of the Harry Potter cast!
The close relationship between Georgie and Tony allowed the study of the aging process, housing, nest box and dietary preferences, reaction to various drugs, and many other aspects of Barn Owl biology which have been very helpful in the Trust’s rehabilitation work.
“Georgie really was a very special bird and everyone loved him, especially me,” said Tony Warburton in Georgie’s obituary. “It’s as if someone has turned out a bright light, and things will never be quite the same without him. One thing is for certain, he’ll never be forgotten. Especially now, since his work will be remembered in the World Owl Hall of Fame, as he so well deserves.”
|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.