New York State
Ornithological Association

For the birders and birds of the Empire State


Name Change Approved

by Kevin McGowan, President

At the business meeting of 1 November 2003, the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, Inc. voted to change its name to the New York State Ornithological Association, Inc.  The new name will become official as soon as a few legal requirements get taken care of.

Discussion of the name change began at a Board of Directors meeting in February 2002.  The Board considered the idea, agreed in principle, and proposed a number of possible names.  A presentation on the possible change was made at the annual general business meeting in September 2002, and comments, as well as potential names were solicited at that time.  After considering a number of options, and rejecting the first proposed name, the board passed a motion to change the name at the April 2003 Board meeting.  The issue was brought to a vote at the official meeting of the members in November.

Several reasons were responsible for this move.  First and foremost was the feeling that the original name did not adequately describe the organization.  It did not indicate that this was the main ornithological organization for the state, responsible for maintaining the Checklist Of The Birds Of New York State and for publishing The Kingbird, the state bird journal.  While serious consideration was given to using the word “birding” in the new name, it was decided the “ornithology” or “ornithological” would be more reflective of what the organization does, that is, that it gathers, organizes, and records ornithological data from birders.

In addition to the fact that our name was not really descriptive, it did not signify to many people that individual memberships were available, or in fact that they were necessary for the operation of the organization.  Many people believed that because their local club was a member, there would be no benefit to joining as individuals.  Many did not even know they could be individual members.

Although the organization was created to be a federation of bird clubs, it quickly became apparent that it could survive only with individual memberships.  Currently the member clubs provide only 1/10 as much revenue as do individual members.  Individual members are essential to our activities, especially the publication of the journal.  It was believed by the Board that the name hindered the promotion of individual memberships, disguising the fact that individuals could even belong.

The term “ornithological” means, “relating to birds.”  Thus it embodies the one common passion that unites us.  We appreciate the support and participation of every member and promise, as the New York State Ornithological Association, to continue all our efforts to meet the objectives that were established many years ago.

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