About the Illinois Ornithological Society
We document bird life in Illinois
Founded in 1992 by birders and scientists, the Illinois Ornithological Society has grown to serve a wide variety of avian lovers with varying interests and backgrounds. Among the members are extremely knowledgeable birders who lead quality field trips to teach beginning and intermediate birders about the wonderful places to see and identify the state's feathered creatures. Other members include backyard bird watchers, local bird club members and scientists who we support with annual grants to do important research.
One of our important goals is to document bird life in a quarterly magazine called Meadowlark, which members receive in the mail. We are on our 19th year of publishing this magazine, which contains field notes from birders throughout the state as well as articles on great places to bird, research being done on birds in the state and interesting tidbits such as how to watch hawks from your own back yard. Many of these articles, written by scientists as well as birders, will be used for centuries to come by researchers wanting to get a picture of the avian life in Illinois. Anyone who wants to learn more about the birds of Illinois - and where and when to find them - will enjoy receiving the magazine. To read more about Meadowlark, see the Meadowlark Journal Information page.
We have fun
Our annual winter gull frolic draws hundreds of folks to learn more about gulls, and get out of the doldrums of winter cabin fever. Volunteers serve the famous gull stew (OK, it's actually made with chicken), pizza and other goodies inside a warm space where people can rest in between going outside in the cold to look at the gulls. Our spring birding weekends are held throughout the state at great birding locales, where typically 100 or more species are observed.
IOS complements the many local birding groups by offering specialty state-wide field trips that often produce for difficult-to-find species, which may not necessarily be the target of bird walks held by local groups. For example, we have had highly successful, regular trips to search for Sabine's Gull, Smith's Longspur and Yellow Rail for many years. The field trip chairs and leaders do the work. You have the fun!
IOS gives birders of all levels a chance to explore new habitats in the state and see new avian species. See the Field Trip Schedule page for a list of current IOS sponsored field trips.
We have a board and volunteers
IOS would not survive without a dedicated board and other volunteers who perform so many tasks that keep the group vibrant and active. Here's just a partial list of the volunteers who keep IOS solvent:
- Recording secretary
- Field trip chair
- Field trip leaders
- Spring birding weekend chair
- Associate editors
- Field notes compilers
- Christmas Bird Count compilers
- Membership mailing chair
- Newsletter editor
- Newsletter designer
- Advertisement designer
There's lots more and we could use your help from arranging a field trip to stuffing envelopes to writing a story.
Join us. Help us. You can contribute to the health of the state's birds and the knowledge of the state's birders. To get involved, contact the IOS Board of Directors.