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All about the Ornithological Council (and why you should care...)

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As early as the 1960s, ornithologists realized that they had no effective means of providing scientific information about birds to federal and state agencies, the private for-profit sector, and the conservation community. As awareness of the need for science-based bird conservation and management grew, ornithologists needed a way to assure that ornithological science was incorporated into decisions that affect wild bird populations.


At the same time, ornithologists were struggling with the growing array of permit requirements. In fact, there were occasions when ornithologists even faced possible prosecution for violation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act due to problematic implementation of the permit requirements.


Dick Banks (President, AOU 1994-1996; President Wilson Ornithological Society 1991-1993) proposed the formation of an ornithological council to speak for scientific ornithology with the publication of a paper in The Auk.


And so...a committee was formed. And the committee recommended that such a council be formed.


The Council was founded in 1992 by seven ornithological societies in North America: American Ornithologists' Union, Association for Field Ornithology, Cooper Ornithological Society, Pacific Seabird Group, Raptor Research Foundation, Waterbird Society and Wilson Ornithological Society. In recent years, the Society of Canadian Scientists, the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, the Neotropical Ornithological Society, CIPAMEX, and the North American Crane Working Group have become members. The Peregrine Fund became an affiliated member in 2012.


So what does the Ornithological Council do, and why should you care?


The OC works with federal and state agencies to assure that the policies that affect the way you conduct your research have a biological basis and do not impose biologically unwarranted restrictions on your research.


That means that the Ornithological Council gives voice to scientific ornithology wherever & whenever that voice should be heard in the making of policy decisions that affect ornithological research or wild bird conservation and management.


Permits, permits, permits: Migratory Bird Treaty Act (bird banding, scientific collecting, import/export), Endangered Species Act, CITES, Wild Bird Conservation Act, special use permits for the National Wildlife Refuge Systems, National Forest Service, research permits for the National Park Service, authorizations for BLM land, state permits, USDA APHIS import permits, CDC import permits. In Canada, working with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the provincial wildlife authorities on Migratory Bird Convention Act permits (banding, scientific collecting, import/export), SARA permits.


Animal welfare: Working with USDA APHIS Animal Care on policies that affect ornithological research in the lab and in the field; working with the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Research and the National Science Foundation on implementation of the Animal Welfare Act through their grant policies; working with the National Academy of Science, Institute of Laboratory Animal Welfare on the authoritative guidance document; working with the AAALAC International (the private accreditation organization).


Data and literate archiving and access policies: Voicing the views and concerns of the ornithological community to the federal agencies that are establishing national policies requiring data archiving, data sharing, and "open access" to scientific literature


Research integrity and peer review policies: Representing the views and concerns of the ornithological community to the federal agencies that establish national policies regarding research integrity and peer review





More examples of what the Ornithological Council does for you can be found in our annual reports.


In short? The Ornithological Council: Keeping the world safe for ornithology since 1992!


The Ornithological Council - a consortium supported by 12 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including the Ornithological Council!




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