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AOS Governance

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the scientific understanding of birds, enrich ornithology as a profession, and promote a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds.  

AOS is governed by its board of management, the Council. The Council consists of voting and non-voting members and officers elected to serve on the Council of AOS. Currently, the Council is made up of the four officers (President, President-Elect, Treasurer and Secretary), twelve Elective Councilors, and ten living past Presidents, all elected by the membership. Non-voting members of Council include the Editors-in-Chief of the journals and the Executive Director of the society.

Biographies of AOS Officers and Elective Councilors (PDF)

The Council is the central decision-making body of AOS. The Council’s focus is on strategic direction, policy, budget, and effective organizational planning. The Council monitors and strengthens the organization’s programs and services to advance the society’s mission. The governing documents and policies of the organization reflect the history, culture, and professionalism of the society:

AOS Bylaws, last amended June 2019 (PDF)

AOS Code of Professional Conduct (PDF)

AOS Social Media Policy and Code of Conduct (PDF) 

AOS Non-Discrimination Policy (PDF)

AOS Diversity Statement (PDF)

AOS Data Privacy Policy (PDF)

The Executive Director makes day-to-day decisions related to administrative, financial, and operational activities of AOS, and the Executive Committee is responsible for the ongoing business and programmatic activities of AOS between Council meetings and as needs arise. AOS’s Fellows approve all changes to the Bylaws.  

The Council has ultimate fiduciary responsibility in protecting the assets of AOS. It provides financial oversight and ensures that proper financial policies and controls are in place for managing AOS’s funds. The Council is ultimately responsible for adherence to legal standards and ethical norms and ensures AOS’s compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations for accounting and audits.  

Nominations for AOS Officers and Elective Councilors must be received by the AOS Secretary four months before the Stated Meeting. Nominations may be submitted in writing or electronically. Officers are elected by electronic and postal ballot prior to the annual meeting, and new officers are announced at the meeting. The AOS Bylaws require that the Secretary and Treasurer be elected or re-elected annually. Of the total of twelve Elective Councilors, four are elected annually to serve terms of approximately three years, beginning at the close of the Stated Meeting. The procedure for nominating AOS Officers and Elective Councilors is outlined in the AOS Bylaws (Art IV, Sec 2).

For more information, contact us.


Kathy Martin
Dept. of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia


Thomas W. Sherry
Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University


Andy Jones (
Cleveland Museum of Natural History


Rebecca Kimball 
Dept. of Biology, University of Florida

Executive Director

Melinda Pruett-Jones (
Chicago, IL

Elective Councilors 

Anna D. Chalfoun 
Abby N. Powell 
Andrea K. Townsend 
Michael S. Webster

Peter Dunn
Sharon Gill
Sara Morris
Christopher Witt

Sara Kaiser
Erica Nol
Lauryn Benedict
Kristen Ruegg

Past Presidents (voting):

Steven R. Beissinger
Susan Haig
Scott M. Lanyon
Frank Moore
Marty Raphael

Past Presidents (honorary):

Erica H. Dunn
James A. Kushlan
John W. Fitzpatrick
Dennis Power
C. John Ralph
Terry Rich
John T. Rotenberry
J. Michael Scott
Kimberly A. Sullivan

Editor-in-Chief, The Auk: Ornithological Advances

T. Scott Sillett
Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Editor-in-Chief, The Condor: Ornithological Applications

Catherine Lindell
Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University

Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Avian Biology

Kate Huyvaert 
Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University

Non-Profit Disclosure Statement

The American Ornithological Society files its required information and tax returns (IRS Form 990) with the IRS each year. Form 990 allows the IRS and the public to evaluate nonprofits and how they operate. IRS Form 990 ensures that nonprofits disclose any potential conflicts of interest, compensation of board members and staff, and other details having to do with financial accountability and avoidance of fraud. Three years of AOS’s Form 990 are made available for the public on our website.

AOS 990 IRS Form for Public Disclosure, Fiscal Year 2017 (PDF)

AOS 990 IRS Form for Public Disclosure, Fiscal Year 2016 (PDF)

AOU 990 IRS Form for Public Disclosure, Fiscal Year 2015 (PDF)

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

© 2019 American Ornithological Society