World Bird Sanctuary was founded in 1977 by Ornithologist Walter C. Crawford, Jr. Crawford began his career at the St. Louis Zoo working closely with the Zoo's Director and Wild Kingdom Star Marlin Perkins. Recognizing a need for an organization dedicated to birds of prey, Crawford began his life's work.
Originally named the Raptor Rehabilitation & Propagation Project (RRPP), the World Bird Sanctuary's roots are deep. The land that housed the RRPP formerly belonged to the U.S. Army, who used the area as a munitions depot during WWII. Many of RRPP's first bird buildings were old Army facilities. "A" Barn, as this building was called, was used to house RRPP's breeding department. The U.S. Army's Administration Offices were initially housed in this facility. "D" Barn had a special purpose for RRPP. It provided housing for injured eagles brought to RRPP that, due to the nature of their injuries, were unable to be released back into the wild. While the U.S. Army was in residence they used the facility as their shower/latrine facility for the nearby barracks.
Today, Crawford continues to direct the organization he founded with a full time staff of 25 and 305 acres of Missouri hardwood forest. He also travels nationwide to speak at conventions and banquets with his humorous and inspirational message of environmental conservation