Sylvan Heights Bird Park’s Co-founder, Mike Lubbock, has been honored with the title of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. This prestigious award is bestowed upon British citizens who have made noteworthy regional or national contributions. Established in 1917 by King George V, the Order commemorates those who served in non-combative roles and has since been extended to recognize achievements in arts, sciences, charitable work, and public services. The Order comprises five classes across military and civilian divisions, ranging from the highest, Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross, to the lowest, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Lubbock was notified of the award by British government officials, and the announcement was published in The Gazette, including The London Gazette, The Belfast Gazette, and The Edinburgh Gazette, on Dec. 30. The notification recognized Lubbock for his services to Global Wildlife Conservation of Water Birds. Lubbock expressed pride in receiving the award for his extensive work with waterfowl birds worldwide and the achievements at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
The MBE announcement places Lubbock in the company of distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to their respective fields. Lubbock’s journey began in 1962 when he started breeding birds at the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, England. His passion for waterfowl conservation led to international recognition, and in 1969, he came to the United States to care for a collection of waterfowl in Long Island, New York.
Throughout his career, Lubbock conducted trips worldwide to collect waterfowl eggs, contributing to the conservation of various species. He played a pivotal role in the captive breeding of African Pygmy Goose and Maccoa, receiving treatment for bilharzia during a trip to Africa. Lubbock returned to England at the invitation of Peter Scott to work at the Slimbridge center.
In 1982, Lubbock returned to the U.S., establishing collections in Alabama before relocating to Scotland Neck, North Carolina, in 1989. Under the guidance of the North Carolina Zoological Society, the Lubbocks planned Sylvan Heights Bird Park, which opened in 2006. The park has grown significantly, boasting 260 species of birds and attracting nearly 70,000 visitors annually.
Lubbock’s MBE recognition reflects his lifelong dedication to waterfowl conservation and the success of Sylvan Heights Bird Park, which has not only put Scotland Neck on the map but also garnered international acclaim for its unique bird collection.