The Texas Ornithological Society was organized on February 14, 1953, at Austin, as a result of the promotional efforts of Charles McNeese and his fellow enthusiasts in the Ornithology Group of the Outdoor Nature Club of Houston. The major purposes of the society include the observation, study, and conservation of the birds of Texas and the stimulation of cooperation among ornithologists of Texas and the Southwest. The society is administered by an executive board consisting of the officers and eight regional directors. The scissor-tailed flycatcher was chosen in 1956 as the society's official bird, and the emblem of the society is a flying scissor-tail superimposed on a map of Texas. Field trips held in conjunction with the meetings of the society provide the major means of stimulating fellowship and cooperation among the membership. The society was incorporated in 1964 and granted tax-exempt status in 1974. The first publication of the society was a monthly newsletter providing news of members, the results of Christmas bird counts, migration reports, and other information regarding birds. In March 1967 the newsletter was replaced by a bulletin containing articles of a more technical nature. Since 1974 the society has published both a newsletter and a bulletin. From 1955 through 1978 the McNeese Library of Ornithology was maintained as a memorial to the first president of the society. In 1971 a Texas Bird Records Committee was established to gather distribution records and to publish and periodically revise a state checklist of birds. This objective is furthered by the maintenance of a photo-record file that documents the occurrence of rare or unusual birds within the state. In 1974 the society published a Check-list of the Birds of Texas, which was later revised and republished in 1984. Conservation is a major emphasis of the society. The first conservation platform was published in 1958 and has since been periodically revised and updated. In 1988 the society purchased an interest in the upper Texas coast woodlot known as Sabine Woods, thus providing sanctuary status for this important stopover for birds migrating over the Gulf of Mexico. The society also financially supports the study of Texas birds through small research grants and as a cosponsor of the Texas Breeding Bird Atlas Project, which was begun in 1987.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Texas Ornithological Society Bulletin, December 1972. Texas Ornithological Society Newsletter, December 1964, February 1974, January 1978.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Stanley D. Casto,
“Texas Ornithological Society,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 06, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
July 1, 1995