Executive Director - Walter Crawford


Walter spent his boyhood years in Venezuela, where his father worked as a field engineer for a petroleum company. The exotic birds in the jungles of South America caught the attention of the young boy and his interest in them eventually led Crawford to his life's work - the propagation, rescue, rehabilitation, and preservation of birds, especially birds of prey. Crawford, a Vietnam veteran, received a bachelor's degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a master's degree from Mississippi State University. With the blessing and support of the Zoo's Director Emeritus, Marlin Perkins, in 1977 Crawford founded what eventually came to be known as the World Bird Sanctuary. In 1982 he left the zoo to work full-time at the sanctuary. The work being done by Crawford and the rest of the World Bird Sanctuary staff has been enhanced by the opening of the World Bird Sanctuary's 105 acre nature park in 2000. Under Crawford's direction the World Bird Sanctuary is headquarters for an exciting combination of rescue, rehabilitation, research and education.


  • 1st captive breeding of the Bateleur Eagle
  • 1st captive breeding of the Mottled Owl
  • 1982 Conservationist of the Year
  • 1984 Conservation Organization of the Year
  • Distinguished Alumni Awards - Southeast MO State - School of Polytechnic Studies and Agriculture Department
  • 1993 Lifetime Achievement Award - Wildlife Rehabilitation Association
  • 1994 Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla Award - Zoological Society of Milwaukee County
  • 1997 International Achievement Award - International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
  • 1999 Conservation Award & Community Service Award - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Certificate of Award for Conservation & Conservation Award of Exceptional Merit - Missouri State Society
  • Award of Appreciation - US Army Corps of Engineers
  • 1991 appointed Curator of Ornithology & Avian Research - Guyana Zoo in Georgetown
  • Member of the Explorers Club
  • Founder & Vice-President of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
  • Past President - International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators