Statues of the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (German Ornithologists' Society) *

* Version following amendments agreed at the 142nd General Assembly on 3rd October, 2009 in Pörtschach (Austria).

Current version, following amendments agreed at the 148nd General Assembly on 3rd October, 2015 in Constance (Germany): see our German pages!

§ 1 Name and Head Office

The name of the society is the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft, eingetragener Verein. Its Head Office is in Radolfzell, D-78302, Germany.

§ 2 Purpose

The society pursues exclusively and directly non-profit making aims in the sense of the regulations dealing with tax-deductible aims in the German tax code. The objective of the society is exclusively the promotion of ornithology on the broadest possible basis.  The society strives to achieve this aim on a scientific basis, in particular through the issue of at least a single scientific periodical, promotion of avian research and mutual exchange of experience, and observations made, in regularly recurrent meetings.

§ 3 Membership

Application is made to the Executive Committee for ordinary and concessional membership. The immediate family of ordinary members can be accepted as family concessional members.

The Executive Committee has the right to nominate corresponding and honorary members in special cases.

Membership expires with the death or resignation of a member. Resignations can only be made at the end of a business year. Resignations must be submitted in writing to the Executive Committee at least two months in advance. Members whose actions contravene the aims of the society, or who bring the society into disrepute, can be expelled from the society by a decision of the Executive Committee. Members who suffer expulsion can appeal against the decision within four weeks of its receipt. Appeals are considered by the Advisory Committee whose decision is final. The member to be expelled has the right to justify his or her behaviour before expulsion or during the appeal procedure. Members can also be expelled if membership fees remain unpaid four weeks after a written reminder.

§ 4 Business year

The society‘s business year is the calendar year.

§ 5 Membership fees

Membership fees are laid down by the General Assembly of members. Honorary and corresponding members are not required to pay membership fees. Membership fees are due for payment on the 1st of January of each year.  

§ 6 Management

The society is managed by an Executive Committee, supported by an Advisory Committee consisting of at least 15 members. The Executive Committee is required to consult the Advisory Committee on all important society matters.

The Executive Committee comprises the President, a 1st and 2nd Vice President, a General Secretary, Secretary and Treasurer. The Chief Executive, in terms of the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch - BGB) is the President. He or she are represented in their absence, or by delegation, by an officer of the Executive Committee in the order set out in the previous sentence. An office may be established to support the business and administration of the society and the Executive Committee.

Members of the Executive Committee are elected by a simple majority of the General Assembly. Ballot papers are to be used for the election of all society officers except the auditors. The President and Vice Presidents are elected for a term of three years, the remaining officers of the Executive Committee for two years. Immediate re-election is permissible. New elections are to take place in good time ahead of the expiry of the term of office, and those elected take up their posts at the start of the next business year. If the post is vacant at the time of election the new term of office begins immediately. 

Members of the Advisory Committee are elected by the General Assembly. The Executive Committee decides on the number of Advisory Committee members to be elected within the framework of sub-paragraph 1 above, and announces the number of officers to be elected at least 3 months before the date of the General Assembly. A notice in the society’s official periodical suffices.  The provisions of sub-paragraph 6, 5th sentence below are not affected. The election procedure follows that of sub-paragraph 4 above.

Membership of the Advisory Committee ends with either the end of membership in the society, election to the Executive Committee, a letter of resignation submitted to the Executive Committee or, at the latest, after ten years as member of the Advisory Committee. An immediate re-election is not permissible. Members of the Advisory Committee leaving on regular rotation are to be replaced by election of new officers at the next General Assembly. Honorary members have the right to attend and vote at meetings of the Advisory Committee. Spokespersons of project groups may be invited to provide specialist advice.

Nominations for the election to the Executive and Advisory Committees must be submitted to the General Secretary or Spokesperson of the Advisory Committee respectively at least six weeks before the date of the next General Assembly. If nominees declare their readiness to seek election in writing they must be included in the official list of candidates. The Executive and Advisory Committee may nominate their own candidates after the expiry of the six week deadline.

The Advisory Committee elects one of its members as a spokesperson and a deputy. The spokesperson or their deputy can attend Executive Committee meetings in an advisory function.

The Executive Committee can charge individual members of the society with special tasks and invite them to attend meetings of the Executive or Advisory Committee.

The Executive and Advisory Committees can regulate their business in the framework of these statutes and the provisions of the Civil Code (BGB) by means of rules of procedure.

§ 7 General Assembly

The General Assembly is held annually. The time, location and agenda are determined by the Executive Committee. The Assembly is chaired by the President, who issues an invitation to members at least three weeks before the appointed date. Invitations can be sent in writing or be published in the society’s periodical. The President is required to schedule an extraordinary General Assembly if there is a special reason, or if a quarter of the members demand it in writing for a given reason. The invitation is sent or published as for the annual General Assembly.

The Executive Committee is obliged to put proposals submitted by at least ten members, or by the Advisory Committee, on the agenda of the next General Assembly.

The Executive Committee presents a report on its activities for the past business year to the General Assembly, together with a report on the financial situation of the society and a statement of accounts. Following the auditors’ report the assembly moves the discharge of the Executive Committee.

Decisions of the General Assembly are passed by a simple majority of members present (honorary, corresponding, ordinary and concessional members) unless the statutes state otherwise.

§ 8 Periodicals

The society’s official organs are the Journal of Ornithology and the Vogelwarte. The Vogelwarte is published jointly by the German Ornithologists’ Society, the Institute for Avian Research - Helgoland Ornithological Station, Wilhelmshaven, the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology - Radolfzell Ornithological Station, Radolfzell, the Hiddensee Ornithological Station at Griefswald University and the Hiddensee Ringing Centre.

The periodicals are sent free of charge to ordinary, honorary and corresponding members.

§ 9 Administration of funds

The society is selflessly active; its actions are not primarily dictated by its own commercial interests. Society funds may only be used for purposes covered by the statutes. The Executive Committee is responsible for administering and employing the society’s funds for these purposes only. They serve in the first instance publication of the periodicals, promotion of avian research and to cover necessary administrative costs. The use of funds for other purposes must be in the sense of Paragraph 2 above and require the assent of the Advisory Committee. The members receive no benefits from society funds. No person may benefit from outgoings which do not serve the purpose set out in the statutes or receive disproportionate remuneration.

§ 10 Statute changes

Changes or amendments to the statutes can only be passed by a majority of three quarters of the votes cast in a General Assembly.

Changes or amendments or to the statutes made necessary by legislation or official order may be passed by the Executive Committee.

§ 11 Dissolution of the society

The dissolution of the society can only be decided on at an extraordinary General Assembly which must be announced at least four weeks in advance. The decision to dissolve the society requires a majority of three quarters of votes cast. Absent members may cast their vote in writing.

Funds remaining after the dissolution of the society, and after all financial commitments have been met, go to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (at present located in Bonn), subject to the condition that the assets are used directly and exclusively for non-profit purposes and in accordance with Paragraph 2 of these statutes.

Establishment of the statutes and subsequent amendments

Established: Freiburg i. Br., 14th December 1949.

Amended: Frankfurt a. M., 1st August 1955; Vienna (A), 21st May 1956; Kiel, 12th September 1958; Gießen, 10. October 1962; Bonn, 8. October 1971; Bonn, 1st October 1988; Melk (A), 19th September 1996; Schwyz (CH), 6th October 2001; Kiel, 2nd October 2004; Stuttgart, 2nd Oktober 2005; Pörtschach (A), 3rd October 2009.

Previous versions of the statutes: Die Vogelwarte 15, 1950: 137-139; J. Ornithol. 96, 1955: 464-466; 100, 1959: 260-262; 104, 1963: 300-302; 113, 1972: 352-354; 129, 1988, Special issue: 79-81; 134, 1993: 220-222; 139, 1998, Special issue: 45-48; Vogelwarte 43, 2005: 95-96; 44, 2006: 73.

* Version following amendments agreed at the 142nd General Assembly on 3rd October 2009 in Pörtschach (A).