2014 Conservation Award Heroes Georgean and Paul Kyle
This year we celebrate two extraordinary individuals who are model small land management stewards, Chimney Swift experts, and tireless advocates for conservation: Georgean and Paul Kyle. They are also the dedicated stewards of Travis Audubon’s Chaetura Canyon Sanctuary.
In 1972, Georgean and Paul purchased one acre in northwestern Travis County, later naming the property Chaetura Canyon, after the scientific name for the Chimney Swift ( Chaetura pelagica ). They subsequently established a wildlife rehabilitation facility where they cared for over 2,000 injured and displaced native animals over a 20-year period.
In 1995, the Kyles founded the North American Chimney Swift Nest Site Research Project, a continent-wide conservation initiative, and in 1999 they received the National Partners in Flight award for their efforts in public awareness. They have installed 18 nesting and roosting towers on Chaetura Canyon and 80 more in the central Texas area, inspiring the building of hundreds more across the United States and Canada.
In 2005, they published a book, Chimney Swifts: America’s Mysterious Birds above the Fireplace . Their scientific papers, brochures, articles, and research results have appeared in a wide array of publications.
In 2006, Georgean and Paul entered a life-time partnership with Travis Audubon when they donated their home and surrounding 10 acres to be maintained as the Chaetura Canyon Bird Sanctuary in perpetuity. The couple continues to live on the property under a life estate, managing the preserve and protecting the wildlife that call it home.