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Largest ornithological society in hemisphere signals new era

The logo of the new American Ornithological Society.
The American Ornithological Society was formed through the merger of the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society.

It was official in September. Now it’s legal.

The American Ornithologists’ Union — the society that maintains the authoritative record of birds found in North and Middle America, votes yea or nay on all species lumps and splits, and publishes the influential peer-reviewed journal The Auk: Ornithological Advances — has legally merged with the Cooper Ornithological Society.

Together, the two societies have formed a new organization, called the American Ornithological Society (AOS).

Editor Chuck Hagner is a longtime member of the AOU. Senior Editor Matt Mendenhall is a member of the COS. Contributing Editor Kenn Kaufman was elected an AOU Fellow in 2013.

According to AOS executive director Melinda Pruett-Jones, the new organization will be devoted to advancing research focused on birds in the Western Hemisphere, promoting their conservation, and training the next generation of scientists.

The president of the AOS is Steven Beissinger, professor of conservation biology at the University of California Berkeley and a Fellow of the London Zoological Society and the American Ornithologists’ Union. He received the William Brewster Award in 2010.


The AOS publishes two international journals: The Auk: Ornithological Advances and The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The organization also publishes the book series Studies in Avian Biology.

The society’s checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North and Middle America, and in South America.

The AOS also sponsors The Birds of North America Online in partnership with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.


The first meeting of the AOS will be held July 31 to August 5, 2017, on the campus of Michigan State University, in East Lansing. AOS is based in Chicago at the Field Museum of Natural History.

Visit the website of the American Ornithological Society.

AOU and Cooper Ornithological Society will merge (September 30, 2016).



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