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AOU History

The American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) was founded in 1883 by William Brewster, Elliott Coues, and Joel Allen out of concern for bird conservation and interest in developing the field of ornithology in North America. Early AOU efforts led to formation of the National Audubon Society and the Biological Survey (now known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Before merging with the Cooper Ornithological Society to form the American Ornithological Society (effective 11 October 2016), AOU was the largest ornithological society in the Western Hemisphere and one of the oldest organizations in the world devoted to the scientific study and conservation of birds.

The AOU archives are housed at the Smithsonian Institution. Please use this searchable database to find any archival information you seek from the history of the AOU.

AOU Officer History (PDF)
List of AOU meetings, 1883-2016 (PDF)

Welcome to the American Ornithological Society (AOS)
Advancing Scientific Knowledge and Conservation of Birds

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