About Wilson Ornithological Society

The Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) is an international scientific society comprising community members who share a curiosity about birds. The WOS produces the quarterly Wilson Journal of Ornithology as the latest iteration of scientific journal publication supported by the Society since 1888. The WOS is committed to providing mentorship to both professional and amateur ornithologists through sponsorship of research, teaching, and conservation. Find us on wilsonsociety.org, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@WilsonOrnithSoc).

In memoriam: Mary Bomberger Brown

Dear WOS family,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that our friend, colleague and mentor, Mary Bomberger Brown, passed away this weekend. Despite battling cancer for many years, Mary remained an integral leader in the Wilson Ornithological Society serving as our Editor twice and most recently serving as the Second Vice President. Mary was wholly dedicated to the WOS, her professional home. She viewed her role as editor as one of mentor. She was quite proud of that fact that many budding ornithologists submitted their first manuscript to the Wilson Journal of Ornithology. Mary insisted that all manuscripts be sent out for review so that authors would receive constructive feedback regardless of the decision to publish. She was a caring, thoughtful editor who helped raise the quality and stature of the Wilson Journal of Ornithology while at the same time preserved our dedication to encouraging young ornithologists. The ornithological community has lost a truly wonderful role model who demonstrated scientific rigor, the importance of service to the community, and humility and graciousness.

Mary was a mentor and friend to me. I worked closely with her during the editorial transitions for the WJO over the last several years. Mary taught me many valuable lessons about leadership and the society. She made me a better President to the WOS. I cannot thank her enough, and I will dearly miss her friendship, advice and collegiality.

I know it will be difficult this fall at Cape May to have our first annual meeting without Mary’s presence, enthusiasm, and infectious smile and personality. She will be missed by so many of us. I had looked forward to Mary’s next steps in the WOS – her Presidency would have undoubtedly been amazing, a time for her mentorship to reach so many more ornithologists. I hope we can honor Mary with continued stories about her. I hope we can teach young ornithologists about Mary by sharing those stories with them, and embodying Mary’s attitudes toward mentorship in our own lives. I know she touched the lives of many of us, and I welcome your stories, anecdotes and thoughts about Mary.

Tomorrow, I start another semester of teaching ornithology to undergraduates. I often start by sharing a few stories about ornithologists and how they came to study birds. I plan to share this video of Mary with them; it captures her so well and what better way to introduce students to ornithology than to share with them the story of Mary Bomberger Brown. 

More about Mary can be read here.  We also plan to honor Mary by publishing a professional obituary in WJO later this year.


Mark E. Deutschlander

President, Wilson Ornithological Society

New edition: Recording & analysis of bird vocalizations

WOS thanks Sylvia Halkin and Walter Berry for producing a major update to the chapter in the Manual of Field and Laboratory Exercises for Ornithology regarding bird vocalizations. This chapter outlines exercises that provide hands-on experience with the recording and analysis techniques that are used to explore the diversity and functions of sounds made by birds.

As with all chapters in the Manual, the contribution by Halkin and Berry is available free of charge for instructors and students of ornithology. WOS hopes that this resource will be of value for its members—and future members—and to ornithology at large.

2018 Annual Meeting

The Association of Field Ornithologists (AFO) and Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) are pleased to announce that registration is open for their joint meeting to be held at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 7 – 9 June 2018.  Conference web site …

Appeal and invitation to become a member of WOS

Why become a member of the Wilson Ornithological Society? There is a great deal to be said for tradition. Many aspiring and young professionals currently favor titles and labels as ecosystem scientists to reflect their range of field-oriented study of the life sciences, but there is no penalty, or shame, in also identifying as an ornithologist.

What a long, proud, and significant record ornithologists have in contributing to our fundamental knowledge as well as to the understanding of modern principles and the use of sophisticated tools to study biology, from molecular biology to all aspects of field-oriented study of the environment!

WOS has an equally distinguished scientific record, perhaps strongest in encouraging and supporting students and young professional, from the relatively small intimate annual meetings that characteristically offer travel support to attending students at all levels, several awards recognizing notable study and presentation, and a first class scientific journal willing to evaluate the full range of avian science.

WOS invites scientists of all ages and vocation to become members of the Society, no matter how or where their specific interest in birds may be. When judged appropriate, faculty and students in education will find a nurturing Society to encourage or support teaching and research at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. Government, non-government, industrial, and other administrative and research scientists will find valuable resources to encourage and support specific study, collaboration, and publication opportunities. WOS requests you commit to our organization as a member, as actively as your time and energy allow, improving our collective and individual abilities to scientifically study birds, and expand our fellowship and friendship sharing our passion for these exquisite and magnificent feathered creatures we study and care about together.

Please take look at our many offerings on this website and see how you will benefit by being a member. From undergraduates to career professionals, there is something here for all!

~ Peter Saenger, Chair, Membership Committee, October 2017