Czech Society for Ornithology

Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO) is a non-governmental organisation uniting birdwatchers, nature lovers, amateurs and professionals interested in the research and protection of birds. It is the Czech national Partner of BirdLife International.

Basic information

Founded: 1926
Members: 4000
Staff: 22
Board: 9
Regional branches: 8
3 field stations, two of them situated in Important Bird Areas


World of Birds (Ptačí svět) – membership magazine (4 issues annually), in Czech language

CSO News (Spolkové zprávy) – informational journal for members, (4 issues annually) Czech language

Sylvia – scientific journal, contains original papers, review articles and short notes on all aspects of ornithology in Czech (Slovak) or English

History in short

1926 – foundation

1994 – joining BirdLife (Partner Designate)

1998 – BirdLife Partner

1990´s – shift from originally scientific organisation to modern, membership based, democratic and open NGO focused mainly on preservation of birds and their habitats and public awareness. Continuing development towards self sufficient, efficient organisation recognised and respected by governmental and non-governmental organisations and the public.


More about the history of the Czech Society for Ornithology

The very first session of people potentially interested in the membership of the Czechoslovak Society for Ornithology was held in Prague on April 5, 1926. The enthusiasts, who had gathered that day, discussed the possible content of activities, adopted a bylaws draft and elected an interim board. The bylaws were oficially acknowledged by the Ministry of Interior in 1928. The constituent gathering was then held on April 22, 1928 in Prague. Professor Jiří Janda was elected the first chairman of the society and the head of the first board. In the beginning, first activities were aimed at the monitoring of bird species distribution and abundance.

After the first bird-ringing centre had been established in 1934, bird-ringing became another basic activity of CSO members. A newsletter for members started to be published in 1928. The „Sylvia“ magazine was launched in 1934. Both of these periodicals have been issued ever since!

During the following years another men were elected to the chair office. Let´s name Dr.Alfred Hořice, doc.dr. Otakar Štěpánek,doc.dr.Walter Černý, prof.dr.Zdeněk Veselovský and prof.dr.Karel Šťastný. There were a few more enthusiasts who helped the society to flourish. It was Josef Musílek who engaged himself at the process of the society establishment and who helped in editing of the two periodicals. There were also Josef Jirsík and Ota Kadlec involved in the beginning of the bird-ringing station existence.

The period of new advancement started after 1945 when the work of the Czech ornithologists began to be laid on a professional basis. Another boom occured after 1972 when new regional subsidiaries had been founded and specialized groups of experts had started to work. Since 1965 the society members have participated on the International waterfowl census which is the activity with the longest tradition. It has also been Nesting birds distribution survey since 1973 which is another long lasting activity. The group for owls and birds of prey survey is another very hardworking group of the society members.

Of course, the year 1989 became a milestone in the history of CSO especially in terms of international work challenges and opportunities. After the BirdLife International organization had been established in Rosenheim in 1994, the Czech Society for Ornithology joined international activities and projects and found its way to the BirdLife International organization in 1998. A good deal of new projects, focused on bird protection and survey, has appeared. Most of them have been realized through international cooperation.

Currently the CSO has more than 4000 members and has become a renowned non-governmental organization with a good reputation not only in the Czech Republic but also beyond its borders. The CSO participates on the creation of bird protection rules and laws and helps the state authorities this way.