Two of the largest and most influential ornithologist organizations are the American Ornithologists’ Union (The AOU) and the Cooper Ornithological Society (COS).

Among other things, the AOU is the keeper of the official bird list of North America, including the official common and scientific names and the placement of birds in specific families.

Since its inception, the COS has worked to disseminate ornithological knowledge, mentor young professionals, and promote the conservation of birds and wildlife in general.

In August the two societies agreed to merge.  A news release announced the agreement.

” At the historic NAOC VI meeting last week in Washington D.C., where more ornithologists—representing 41 countries—were brought together than ever before, the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society proudly announced their decision to bring their membership together as the American Ornithological Society, or AOS, in the very near future. In recent years we have actively collaborated as separate organizations: meeting together, publishing our journals jointly, and working together to benefit the conservation of birds. After a year of fact-finding and due diligence, and in response to the tremendous positive feedback of our membership, our two societies have voted overwhelmingly to merge.

When the societies announced the news during NAOC’s opening plenary session, more than 2000 participants—ornithologists and bird specialists from academia, government, nonprofits, and industry, along with students and citizen scientists—cheered! Our message was clear: a single merged society will better serve ornithologists and advance ornithology by combining our assets—human, financial, and intellectual.

We wish to thank all of our members who responded to queries and contributed valuable viewpoints, and also to recognize the many individuals who worked tirelessly and objectively on the effort. Onward!

With the decision made, the important next steps include the legally required actions to complete the merger, and implementing a new communications and marketing plan for AOS. We anticipate announcing the new AOS in late October to broad audiences—this will be the “effective date of merger.” At the same time, we’ll launch our redesigned websites and social media platforms. The 2017 membership renewal cycle will quickly follow, introducing AOS memberships along with a variety of new services and benefits to members.

Next July, when we come together at the 2017 annual meeting in East Lansing, Michigan, we look forward to opening the 135th stated meeting of American Ornithology and the first meeting of the AOS. Please join us!”

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