PLATINUM2024

American Ornithological Society

Advancing the scientific study and conservation of birds.

Chicago, IL   |  www.americanornithology.org

Mission

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is an international membership organization devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds.

Ruling year info

1943

Principal Officer

Judith Scarl

Main address

1400 S DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 60605 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

American Ornithologists' Union

EIN

72-6019246

NTEE code info

Professional Societies, Associations (U03)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

AOS is working to address the need for professional development and support for scientists working to advance the scientific study and conservation of birds. The world’s largest international ornithological society, AOS is a diverse, global network of empowered professionals and is more relevant today than ever. We’re dedicated to supporting the scientists doing this critical work — for the sake of birds, humanity, and the planet.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Publications

AOS publishes the international, peer-reviewed journals, Ornithology (formerly the Auk: Ornithological Advances) and Ornithological Applications (formerly the Condor: Ornithological Applications). These journals publish papers in which authors present original research and scholarship that advance the fundamental scientific knowledge of bird species and contribute to the understanding of broad biological concepts through studies of bird species. The Society endeavors to publish original works that introduce or employ innovative empirical and theoretical approaches and analyses, applied research and methodology, and disciplinary reviews. The AOS is a partner in the online publication, Birds of the World, with Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Prior publications include Ornithological Monographs and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics

AOS confers significant research grants and prestigious research fellowships for early career ornithologists. The society's wide array of research awards support field and laboratory research to advance ornithological science. The program targets students, students between degree seeking programs, postdoctoral fellows, and early professionals in academia, government, nonprofits, and the private sector working across the globe.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics

AOS hosts an intellectually engaging and vital annual meeting that provides opportunities for the dynamic exchange of scientific ideas among researchers, students, practitioners, enthusiasts, and world experts in the field of ornithology, both in-person and virtual. AOS regularly holds joint annual conferences in association with other scientific societies dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge and promoting programs for professional development of early career professionals. AOS offers content-rich, interactive virtual events throughout the year including training workshops, mentoring series, community forums, and similar activities.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics

AOS confers significant and prestigious awards to its members in recognition of excellence in ornithology and service to the society. These honors and awards serve to promote and inspire the advancement of ornithological science among students, early professionals, and senior scientists, and are awarded to ornithologists and students in academia, government, nonprofits, and the private sector working across the globe. These include 5 publication, 2 service, 4 senior professional, and 2 early career awards.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of conference attendees

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Events

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Research Grants and Fellowships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total Student & Postdoc research, Kessel, & priority projects. Does not include Senior Awards.

Number of press articles published

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Publications

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total number of research articles published in our two scholarly journals.

Total number of organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AOS's goals include:
-Advancing ornithology as a discipline and promoting an international community of professionals in ornithology
-Fostering the responsible conduct of scientific research and publishing peer-reviewed ornithological science, with the sub-goals of (1) advancing ornithology as a discipline, (2) promoting the role of science in conserving bird populations, and (3) serving the society at large
-Providing opportunities for ornithologists from diverse backgrounds to network, share resources, and develop new skills
-Supporting student and early-career scientists advancing their careers
-Inspiring and recognizing outstanding research and service by members of our international community

The current strategic initiatives of AOS are:

(1) Advance ornithological science and research by expanding AOS’s research grant program to support ornithologists at all career stages

(2) Increase access to our quality published ornithological science by expanding the global reach of our peer-reviewed journals and supporting publications by researchers early in their careers and from developing countries

(3) Inform avian conservation outcomes through science arbitration and sponsored scientific reviews

(4) Increase valuable career development opportunities through strategic engagement of our members across all career stages, annual meetings, and communications platforms

(5) Grow and diversify the community of professionals that AOS serves

The Society’s strategic long-range plan directs our efforts and investments in the outcome-based programs that advance these initiatives.

AOS is proud of its >135-year history of advancing the science and conservation of birds, its distinguished scientists and expansive professional expertise, and its strong financial position to serve the ornithological community.

As the home professional society for a diverse mix of approximately 3000 members working across the globe, the Society has a powerful influence on the professional lives of ornithologists, conservation practitioners, students aspiring to join this profession, and the birds we study and seek to conserve. We offer a wide range of member benefits across all of our mission-based programs, most notably our annual meetings, professional development efforts, scholarly publications program (which has influence far beyond our membership), the imprimatur of our prestigious scientific awards, and the influence of our knowledge and voice to serve society in the protection of bird species.

We collaborate with many partners, including other scientific societies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and entities dedicated to citizen science. AOS has a history of outstanding leadership, the active support of members who serve the society as volunteers, and generous donors. AOS currently employs six full-time and one part-time staff members.

AOS is attracting a larger and more diverse constituency of students and early professionals into our community whereby we can support their career development, reversing a two-decade decline in membership in professional societies devoted to ornithology. AOS recently redesigned its annual meeting to deliver science programming and career mentoring of value to our community, which has increased attendance by an average of 28% each year. In 2020, in response to the global pandemic, the AOS partnered with other ornithological societies across the Americas to host a virtual scientific conference that attracted the largest and most diverse attendance of any conference in our history. AOS scientific journals rank among the world’s top peer ornithological publications in terms of impact factor, and AOS-sponsored reviews influence conservation outcomes for endangered birds. Looking forward, AOS goals include further diversifying our global community, increasing engagement of undergraduate students, and expanding our public responsibility efforts to better serve our scientists, bird diversity, and the society at large.

Financials

American Ornithological Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

American Ornithological Society

Board of directors
as of 02/26/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Colleen Handel

Sara Kaiser

Erica Nol

Lauryn Benedict

Kristen Ruegg

Michael Webster

Colleen Handel

Scott Lanyon

Steve Beissinger

Kathy Martin

Jennifer Walsh-Edmond

Daizaburo Shizuka

Emily Cohen

Matthew Carling

Carlos Daniel Cadena

Courtney Conway

Alice Boyle

Morgan Tingley

Martin Raphael

Michael Webster

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/6/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/24/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.