AOS Privacy Policy

Attorney review 11 June 2018; last updated 18 November 2019

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is an international society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS is a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

AOS is committed to the value of privacy. This Privacy Policy explains how AOS collects, uses, and shares information obtained from you through AOS’s websites, including and the Member Portal.

Information We Collect & Maintain

  • AOS collects and maintains the following information from its website(s) and the Member Portal:
  • Your name and email address if you create an account on the Member Portal
  • Your name, payment details, and other personal information when you join or renew your membership in AOS, register for an event, make a purchase, or donate online
  • Historical information related to your memberships and activities in AOS, including membership renewals, email communications, event registrations, purchases, and awards
  • Personal information you may provide via a proposal, abstract submission, award nomination, event registration, help ticket, or other type of online application or competition
  • Information you voluntarily submit when updating your profile in the Member Portal
  • Data from cookies providing information about your activities within our websites (see further details in the Cookies and Analytics section below)
  • Data from web beacons and other technologies regarding your activities associated with emails from AOS (see further details in the Cookies and Analytics section below)

How We Use Collected Information

  • AOS utilizes the information we collect from you to carry out the following activities:
  • Administer society memberships, events, competitions, and communications
  • Target email communications to you based on your preferences and interests
  • Provide you with news, announcements, and other information relevant to your current or previous society memberships
  • Enable you to opt-out of receiving communications from AOS
  • Analyze and improve the effectiveness of the e-communications from AOS
  • Provide an online Membership Directory to current members of AOS
  • Improve the content, design, and functionality of its website(s)

Sharing and Disclosing Information

AOS may share your personal information with third parties under the circumstances described below. Third parties refer to any entity outside the AOS organization structure.

  • Publishers of AOS Journals. AOS provides the publishers of the Society’s journals with the names, postal addresses, and email addresses of active society members so that the publishers can provide members with their relevant print and/or online journal subscriptions.
  • Other Publishers. AOS may sell postal mailing addresses of society members to publishers of ornithological materials. This is restricted to mailing addresses of U.S. members and does not include email addresses.
  • Subcontractors. AOS may disclose personal information to third party vendors in support of the activities described above. This may include financial services, database managers, communications and publication providers, event coordinators, and venues used for meetings.
  • AOS Partners. AOS provides names and email addresses to partner organizations providing services to AOS society members (e.g., upon joining AOS, a member’s name and email address is provided to the webmaster of Ornithology Exchange and to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University, which administers access to the Birds of North America online database, one of the benefits of AOS membership).
  • Recognition & Promotion. AOS makes available, through its website and other communication platforms, the names and affiliations of award recipients, committee members, those in special membership classes, and other individuals receiving recognition through the society. The intent is to acknowledge and promote society distinctions  made to these individuals. The published data never include personal contact information beyond name and affiliation.
  • Aggregated Data. AOS may process and disclose aggregated information (based on personal information held by AOS), that does not reasonably identify an individual AOS member or user, or specific user transaction on its website(s). This includes sharing demographic information with its partners.
  • Disclosure Under Law. AOS may disclose personal information if we have a good faith belief that doing so is required by a subpoena or other judicial or administrative order or otherwise required under applicable laws. Additionally, AOS may disclose personal information where we, in good faith, deem it appropriate or necessary to identify, contact, or bring legal action against someone who may be causing injury to or interference with (either intentionally or unintentionally) the rights or property of AOS, any individual, or the general public; maintain and protect the security and integrity of our services or infrastructure; protect ourselves and our services from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful uses; investigate and defend ourselves against third- party claims or allegations; or assist government enforcement agencies.
  • Merger or Acquisition. In the event of a merger, acquisition, or any form of a transfer of some or all AOS assets to a third party, we may also disclose your personal information to the third parties concerned or their professional advisors. In the event of such a transaction, the personal information held by AOS will be among the assets transferred to the receiver.

Membership Directory

AOS makes member contact information available through an online membership directory (“The Flock”)  housed within the Member Portal, and access is exclusive to current members of those societies sharing the Member Portal. The online membership directory makes it easy for members to connect and includes the following information: full name, title, institution, mailing address, country, phone, and email address. Members may choose to opt out of inclusion in the online membership directory when joining or renewing their membership in AOS, or any time they choose, by logging in to the Member Portal.

Security Measures

The Member Portal has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under AOS’s control. When you enter sensitive information (such as a credit card number) as part of the enrollment process, we encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL).

When you submit information through the Member Portal, you should be aware that your information is transmitted across the Internet and that no method of transmission over the Internet is 100% secure. Although we take reasonable security measures to protect your information when we receive it, you also need to ensure you take appropriate steps to protect your information.

We will obtain assurances from any agents we may use to help provide this service that they will safeguard personal information consistently with this Privacy Policy.

Cookies and Analytics

  • AOS website(s) use session cookies (small data files stored in your browser) to store data regarding your use of our websites, with different lifetimes based on needed functionality. If you configure your browser to reject cookies, you may still use some, but not all, portions of our website(s). We recommend closing browsers and clearing cookies, caches, and browser history on publicly available machines after use.
  • Our emails may contain a “web beacon pixel” to tell us whether they have been delivered, opened, shared or unsubscribed from and to verify any clicks on links within the email. The pixel may also allow us to collect technical information including your geographic location, browser type and version, device type, and operating system and platform. The pixel will be deleted when you delete the email. If you do not wish the pixel to be downloaded to your device, you can read the email in plain text view or with images disabled.
  • We may use Google Analytics and other web-based analytic tools to collect information such as geographical location, webpage views, and visits to and from other websites, including using cookies. Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this site is restricted by the Google Analytics Terms of Service and the Google Privacy Policy. To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics, you can install the relevant browser add-on available at

Protection of Children’s Personal Information

AOS’s website(s) are intended for adults, the primary audience being members of AOS. AOS does not knowingly collect any personal information from children under the age of 13. Please contact AOS at if you suspect that AOS has collected any such information. If AOS learns that we have collected the personal information of a child under 13 without verifiable parental consent, AOS will take steps to delete the information as quickly as possible.

Third Party Sites and Services

AOS website(s) contain links to other sites and services, and other sites and services may have links to AOS website(s). Please be aware that AOS is not responsible for the privacy practices (or other practices, goods, services or content) of other sites or services. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our site(s) and to read the privacy statements of each website that collects personal information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by AOS.

Transfer to United States and EU Compliance

AOS and its servers are located in the United States. Users in the European Union should be aware that their data will be transferred to the United States and that the European Commission has not found United States law to adequately protect the rights of data subjects. AOS takes reasonable precautions to ensure that all processing activities conducted on our behalf are compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under that regulation, EU users who believe their data has been misused have the right to lodge a complaint with their Member State’s supervisory authority. By providing information to AOS, you are consenting to the transfer of that information to the United States.

Storage of Personal Information

We retain the personal data collected from members for as long as the membership is active and for a reasonable period of time after that as necessary for our record-keeping purposes.

Accessing and Correcting Your Information

You can contact AOS using the contact information below to inquire if we are keeping personal information about you. Factual errors in your personal information, including out-of-date information, can be corrected by updating your information in the Member Portal or by sending an email to with a request for such a change that credibly shows our error.

You may always opt out of receiving communications from us by logging in to the Member Portal and adjusting your communication preferences. To remove any personal information from our database, send an e-mail to

Contact Information and Complaints

If you have questions, comments, and/or complaints regarding AOS’s Privacy Policy or how we collect, transmit, and process data please contact us at:

Data Controller: American Ornithological Society


American Ornithological Society
1400 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605