Speaking With One Voice to Protect Ohio’s Birds

Welcoming backyard birdwatchers and researchers in the field alike, the Ohio Ornithological Society is the only statewide organization specifically devoted to fostering a deeper appreciation of wild birds, fellowship and collaboration in advancing our collective knowledge about them, and our ability to speak with one voice to preserve Ohio’s bird habitats.

There is a rich tradition of ornithological societies around the world. Ohio itself has a venerable history of local organizations devoted at least in part to to birds: the Cincinnati Bird Club, the Kirtland Bird Club, Columbus’ Wheaton Club, the Toledo Naturalists’ Association, and others, including many active local Audubon chapters.

But what Ohio lacked, until 2004, was a wider-reaching, statewide organization—one that would bring local groups together, muster many important resources, provide a larger perspective, seek wide appeal among many constituencies, and represent the cause of bird protection and enjoyment for all. It was this general set of goals that was the genesis of The Ohio Ornithological Society, which was founded by a dedicated group of Ohio birders in the winter of 2004. The OOS is a 501 c.3 organization chartered in Ohio.

Main Goals of the Society

  • Organize and promote fellowship among enthusiasts in the study and enjoyment of wild birds.
  • Support young birders through select scholarships and reduced event rates.
  • Recruit new members among young and beginning birders.
  • Encourage new and established local affiliated organizations devoted to wild birds.
  • Bridge gaps between professionals and amateurs, private and public agencies, and between lovers of birds and those who are, for the moment at least, indifferent to them.
  • Promote ethical interactions with birds. OOS has adopted the American Birding Association (ABA) Principles of Birding Ethics. The preamble to this Code states, “Everyone who enjoys birds and birding must always respect wildlife, its environment, and the rights of others. In any conflict of interest between birds and birders, the welfare of the birds and their environment comes first.” The Code lists commonsense guidelines which allow maximum birding with minimum negative impact on the birds and other birders. The full document is available at ABA: Code of Ethics. OOS event guides will adhere to the Code and we urge our members, indeed all birders, to do so as well.

Advancing Knowledge and Resources

Our society, composed of backyard bird watchers, researchers in the field, and certifiable “bird-heads,” meets across the state to watch birds, to share our sightings and insights, and to advance our collective knowledge about Ohio’s birdlife. By uniting as a Society, the OOS will all speak with one voice to protect Ohio’s birds and bird habitats.


The Ohio Ornithological Society Sponsors:

  • The Ohio Cardinal, which for decades has been the state’s ornithological journal of record.
  • Chip Notes, a monthly newsletter.
  • The Cerulean, an annual magazine.
  • The Ohio-birds e-mail discussion list.
  • The Ohio Bird Records Committee.
  • The Ohiobirds.org website filled with timely and locally relevant birding information.
  • Birding field trips all across Ohio.
  • Bird identification workshops and other birding-oriented events, including The Midwest Birding Symposium in 2009, 2011, and 2013.
  • Annual birding conference/meetings.

History of the Ohio Ornithological Society

 The Society was incorporated in 2004, and was the confluence of several well-established entities.

  1. The Society’s flagship publication, The Ohio Cardinal, has been the authoritative record on the abundance and distribution of Ohio’s bird populations for more than 25 years.
  2. The Ohio Bird Records Committee has been analyzing and reviewing rare bird reports in Ohio since 1991.
  3. The Ohio-Birds e-mail list has been Ohio’s only statewide birding news list since 1999.
  4. Many of the founding directors and members have been an actively engaged in the Ohio bird scene for a decade or more.

Like most other state ornithological societies, the OOS has no paid staff and relies entirely on volunteers with a motivating passion for birds. Please consider helping us with our mission by volunteering or becoming a member.

News & Events

Plover Patrol Effervescence

Plover Patrol Effervescence

OOS Northeast Regional Director, Diana Steele, monitors newly banded piping plover chicks during a volunteer shift 7/15. “PIPL HQ” is visible in the background. Photo by Mandy Roberts.A July 10 New York Times article, “There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been...

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Where We Are Birding – July

Where We Are Birding – July

Each month, our OOS Regional Directors are sharing their favorite birding hotspots in their respective regions - and beyond. These include some well-know destinations, specialty spots for specific species, and their own secret, treasured local patches. Have a favorite...

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The Importance of Chimney Swift ConservationChimney_swift

Chimney Swifts have declined by over 50% in just the last 40 years. Chimney Swifts can be helped by making chimneys accessible for the birds or by building Chimney Swift Towers – specially designed nesting/roosting towers.
Plant native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses that attract more insects than non-native plants. Chimney Swifts feed exclusively on flying insects which are crucial during the breeding season.
Investigate an alternative venting system if you are converting a furnace or hot water heater to gas, leaving the chimney unlined and uncapped for the swifts.
Work with an experienced chimney sweep company that can speak to the issue of Chimney Swift conservation and chimney maintenance.
Encourage your neighborhood parks, schools, and businesses to build chimney swift towers.
Work with local conservation groups to raise awareness of the need for uncapped chimneys for Chimney Swift conservation.

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