Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Posthumous honour for popular owl

Georgie (left) and Tony Warburton
Tony Warburton says Georgie was the star of the Meet the Birds event

A barn owl from Cumbria has been given an international award by wildlife experts in the United States, four years after he died.

Georgie posthumously received the Lady Gray'l Award in Minnesota for helping spread knowledge about owls worldwide.

Two of his feathers will be shown at the World Owl Hall of Fame in Houston.

The feathered celebrity entertained more than a million visitors at his Muncaster Castle home on World Owl Trust days.

Tony Warburton, founder of the World Owl Trust in Cumbria, said Georgie was a "special owl, who had a great character".

'Great bond'

"I have owned thousands of owls in my time but Georgie just had the something extra," he said.

"We were very close and when we were alone he would love to sit on my head.

"It is absolutely marvellous that Georgie has won this award, he really did promote owl welfare to so many people."

Mr Warburton first met Georgie when his friend's daughter was pushing him along in a pram, after finding him outside her home in Cumbria.

From that moment they formed "an everlasting bond" and the owl became the star of the Meet the Birds event at the World Owl Trust.

"He died doing what he loved doing, mid-lecture at a local primary school," Mr Warburton said.

"I've been a lucky man, we had an everlasting bond."

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