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Learn Our History!

Under the “About Us” tab on the Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) website, the box at the top states that TOS was founded on, 1953. Its purpose is “to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge of birds; to encourage specifically the observation, study and conservation of Birds in Texas; to encourage the formation of local birding clubs; and to stimulate cooperation among professional ornithologists.” We have been doing all of these for 69 years! 

An article by Stanley D. Casto, The History of TOS – 1953-1963, is a wonderful resource describing how we got started and our first 10 years. The article is peppered with familiar names of the people who built TOS: Charles H. McNeese, Carrie Holcomb, Connie Hagar, Armand Yramategui, Edgar Kincaid (the Father of Texas Birding), and many more. It provides insight into how our Scissor-tailed Flycatcher emblem was created, our involvement with conservation issues around Texas, and our many field trips in the early days.

Another great resource about the history of TOS is the “Handbook of Texas Birds” by Mark W. Lockwood and Brush Freeman. The 2004 edition's introduction describes the development of the Texas Bird Checklists from John K. Strecker up through 1974, when Keith Arnold and Ed Kutac created the first Check-List of Texas Birds. This list was based on the work of the Texas Bird Records Committee (TRBC) formed in 1972 as a part of TOS. The lists have been re-published often through the years.

We are continuing this history with research, conservation advocacy, field trips, meetings, and classes. TOS has a rich history as a major conservation organization. We have been acquiring properties around Texas and preserving bird habitat. Our sanctuaries include:

  • Sabine Woods in Jefferson County first purchased in 1989
  • Crawford Sanctuary in High Island gifted to TOS in 1997
  • Magic Ridge in Calhoun County with first purchase of lots in 2000 and continuing to the present
  • Hooks Woods in High Island gifted in 2001
  • Schroeder Island in Victoria County gifted in 2003. (This sanctuary is not open to the public.)

Hope you'll join us to continue making Texas birding history!

Frances Cerbins, Vice-president, TOS Director-at-Large

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TOS Membership Committee

Texas Ornithological Society

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Texas Ornithological Society

Welcome to the Amazing World of Texas Birds!

If you love birds, Texas is definitely the place for you! With eight different geographical regions to explore, each offering its own, unique wildlife environment; more than 660 species to be discovered; and a location adjacent to the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America, you never know what you might see when you grab your binoculars and head out!

Texas Ornithological Society is proud to promote the discovery, knowledge, observation and conservation of birds in Texas since 1953.