International Ornithological Association
Founder Member COM-UK

Affiliated to the Confederation Ornithologique Mondiale

Association Rules


The International Ornithological Association

 Affiliated to the Confederation Ornitholoque Mondial Since 1954

 Current Aims, Objectives and Rules of the IOA

This Rulebook supersedes any previous editions

The purpose of this booklet is to advise members of the Aims, Objectives, Rules and Management Procedures of the International Ornithological Association.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Approved Ring Supplier.


Aims of the Association

Rule of the IOA


1.            Title

2.           Objectives

3.           Membership

4.           Organisation

5.           Duties of the Committee

6.            General Meetings

7.            Conduit of Business

8.          Finances

9.       Appendix 1 Duties of the Officers

10.     Appendix 1A Duties of the Post Holder

11.     Appendix 2 IOA  Ring Scheme

12.     Affiliated Societies

13.     Management Procedures

14.     Disciplinary Procedures

The International Ornithological Association

Affiliated to the Confederation Ornitholoque Mondale


Adopted at the Annual General Meeting of the 12th April 2014


Who do we represent:      

The United Kingdom and its Dominions.

To encourage our members to show at major events and to represent the IOA  at the World Show.

European Exhibitions:      

To improve the quality and distinction of UK birds by competing at the highest level.

To make new contacts and friends.

To make showing on the European stage a simple and enjoyable experience. You prepare your birds and we transport them to and from the shows.

Avian Well Being:            

To further the care, appreciation, breeding and exhibition of birds in sound, ethical and healthy environments within the legal framework.

The Law:                        

To make representations to statutory bodies and government departments. Forging good working relationships to represent the interests of the members.


To encourage clubs, associations and societies to adopt the practice of close ringing of captive bred birds.


To encourage and promote the practice of close ringing of captive bred birds. Close rings verify age, identify the breeder and are an aid to record keeping. Most importantly they help eliminate the sale of wild caught birds.

The IOA  is a DEFRA approved ring supplier, you do not have to be a member to purchase rings.


1.1     The association shall be named “The International Ornithological  Association”  herein referred to as the IOA.

2.  Objectives

2.1        To affiliate to the confederation Ornitholoque Mondiale (COM) and represent the United Kingdom bird keepers in all aspects of  COM affairs.

2.2        To uphold the rules and objectives of COM.

2.3        To encourage other national bird keeping societies to affiliate to the IOA.

2.4        To further the care, appreciation, breeding and exhibition of birds within the framework of the laws of the United Kingdom.

2.5        To make direct representation to statutory bodies, national organisations and government departments on matters affecting the IOA and its members.

2.6        To do anything else the IOA considers appropriate and reasonable to achieve its objectives.

3.0 Membership

3.1        There are two classes of membership, affiliated societies and individual members.

3.2        Affiliated membership shall be open to:

3.3        United Kingdom national societies catering for cultivating varieties of birds.

3.4        United Kingdom national societies catering for birds grouped according to their geographic origin, scientific classification or other or other recognized affinity.

3.5         Societies catering for all varieties of birds within a distinct geographic region of the United Kingdom, dominions and protectorates.

3.6         Affiliated societies must agree to promote and adhere to the ideal of the IOA and COM in that only closed rings are accepted for exhibition.

3.7         Individual membership shall be open to individuals of any nationality. Partnerships or juniors shall not be recognized by the IOA.

3.8         Admission to membership may take effect upon:

Receipt by the membership secretary of an application for membership in writing or alternatively log on our website ( and pay via our on-line shop.The membership secretary may at his discretion bring to the attention of the committee any person who apply’s for membership.

3.9         Payment of the current affiliation/membership following the receipt of the application and fees.

3.10       The committee may at its absolute discretion, other than for a reason prohibited by the Equality Act 2010, may refuse admission to a new member without assigning a reason other than to confirm that it is not one prohibited by the Equality Act 2010. The decision of the committee is final and is not subject to appeal.

3.11       Renewal of membership shall take effect upon payment of the current membership fee. The date for renewal of membership shall be the 1st of January each year.Any member who wish’s to put his/her name forward to stand for election to the years committee must have been a member for two years with out a break.

3.12       Membership can be terminated if:

  1. Any member has been found guilty of ungentlemanly behaviour.
  2. Bringing our hobby of bird keeping into disrepute.
  3. Bringing the IOA into disrepute.
  4. If any member infringes any United Kingdom Law relating to birds or any other animals.

3.13       Any person found guilty by the committee of contravening rules to the detriment of the association, or is banned from membership for a set period of time shall not be eligible to be a committee member within the association at any time in the event of readmission being granted.

3.14      Any person who has had a conviction at any time re the Wild Life and Country Side act 1981 cannot be accepted to become a committee person or a post holder for life.

3.15      The decision of the committee is final and NOT subject to appeal.

4 Organisation

4.1        The affairs of the IOA  shall be managed by the committee.

4.2        The committee shall consist of not more than 9 members to be elected at an AGM or EGM. Only paid up individual members and one delegate from a paid up affiliated society shall be entitled to vote. Those  seeking election to the committee should have been paid up members for at least 2 years to be eligible to sit on the committee and must attend the AGM or EGM in person.

4.3        The committee shall appoint its members to fill offices of President, General Secretary and Treasurer and the posts of vice President, Ring Secretary, Conveyor, Publicity Officer, Sponsorship Co-ordinator and Magazine Editor. World Show Co-Ordinator and any other posts it deems appropriate. All Officers and Post Holders to serve for three years. General Committee members to serve until the closure of the following AGM (or EGM if applicable). Retiring incumbents shall be eligible for re-election.

4.4        An officer may hold no other office or post other than any role authorized by the committee. A Post Holder may hold no more than three posts. No two officers shall reside at the same address.

4.5         In the event of a resignation, suspension or unforeseen circumstances that prevents an officer or post holder from undertaking their duties regularly and diligently. The committee shall elect a surrogate to fill the post. The new officer or post holder shall hold officer or post for the remainder of the term held by the previous incumbent.

4.6         Any member of the committee may be suspended from the committee for any reason by a two-thirds majority vote of the committee members present at the meeting. The suspended member shall be entitled to appeal to the committee against their suspension. The appeal will be made in writing to the general secretary by registered post within 28 days of issue of the notice of suspension or expulsion. The appellant shall be entitled to state their case in person or in writing to the meeting but not by a third-party unless under the age of eighteen. The appeal shall be carried or dismissed upon a simple majority of the committee.

  4.7       If a committee member misses three consecutive committee meetings that member shall not be allowed to attend further committee meetings for the remainder of the financial year. The committee may accept that “Acts of God” may prevent a committee member from attending meetings and may allow a committee member to continue to attend committee meetings following a majority vote in favour of allowing the member to attend


5.1        The committee shall:

5.2        Define the duties of Officers and Post Holders (Appendix 1)

5.3        Authorise actions of Officers and Post Holders.

5.4        Keep and produce a minute book recording all decisions made and all actions taken.

5.5         Keep in touch regular with the members by all reasonable means, via the Ornithology UK and/or Newsletters whichever is appropriate.

5.6         Form at its discretion sub committees and/or working parties.

5.7         Co-opt, at its discretion people with specialist knowledge onto the committee in an advisory capacity.

5.8          Consider nominations for honorary awards.

5.9         Administer applications for membership of the IOA.

5.10       Review correspondence.

5.11       Supervise the IOA  financial affairs as set out in Rule 8.

5.12       Appoint an independent external examiner to produce an audited annual statement of accounts, at reasonable expense.

5.13       Call an Annual General Meeting in accordance with Rule 6.1.

5.14      Administer the IOA ring scheme in accordance with COM regulations and laws of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

5.15      Keep up to date with Governmental legislation concerning the keeping, ringing and exhibiting of birds and inform the membership accordingly.

5.16       Organise the IOA official participation at International events by all reasonable means.

5.17      Consider, inquiry, advise, instruct or act upon any other matters affecting the IOA and its members.

5.18      Undertake any other duty or action authorized by the membership at an AGM or EGM.

5.19      New Rule.In the event of a global pandemic such as what happened in 2020 the UK Goverment laws will come into force and over rule all IOA ones,such as holding meetings and AGM and travel,re the out

break of covid 19.

6.           In the event of a committee person being unable to attend a AGM due to illness they will be allowed to keep their place on the committee if they put this in writing as it will be classed as a act of God.


6.1         Annual general meetings (AGM) shall be held at a venue as the committee may determine. AGM’s shall be convened not less than 9 months and not more than 15 months since the previous AGM. IOA members aspiring to hold any office, post or appointment on the committee of the International Ornithological Association must:

1.           Attend the general meeting in which the vote will take place.

2.           Not have been prosecuted and conviction of any offence regarding animals or birds.

6.2       Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM) shall be called by simple majority of the committee or by petition to the General Secretary signed by at least 30 members.

6.3        The General Secretary shall give all members not less than three weeks notice of an AGM or EGM.

6.4        A member wishing to propose an addition, omission or alteration to the rules shall give not less than 28 days notice in writing to the Secretary before the date of the AGM or EGM.

6.5         Only paid up individual members are entitled to attend an AGM or EGM. Paid up affiliated societies are entitled to send one delegate to attend an AGM or EGM. In the event that the President of the IOA is a delegate of an affiliated society that society shall be entitled to send a deputy to represent the society at an AGM or EGM. In the event that the affiliated delegate is a member of the IOA,  he/she will have one vote only.

6.6         Non receipt of notice shall not invalidate an AGM or EGM, or proposed change to the rules, provided that non receipt is due to reasons beyond the control of the General Secretary and applies to not more than 15% of the membership.

6.7        Affiliated Societies attending an AGM/EGM must name their delegate, giving at least 28 days notice prior to an AGM/EGM in writing to the General Secretary.


7.1         A quorum at any meeting or committee meeting shall be 5 paid up members.

7.2         Motions at a meeting shall be carried by a simple majority unless stated otherwise in the rules. In the event of a tie, the President (or, if absent, the Vice President) shall only vote when the casting vote is necessary.

7.3        Members co-opted onto committee meetings in an advisory capacity shall not be entitled to vote at those meetings.

7.4         Members may use a postal vote on any issue at an AGM or EGM provided that the vote is made in writing and posted to the general Secretary. The Association cannot be held responsible for non receipt of a postal vote and electronic mail will not be accepted. In the event of a member, who has cast a postal vote, attending the AGM or EGM in person, the postal vote will become null and void.

7.5         In the absence of the President at a meeting, the Vise President will preside over the meeting.

7.6        The President (or if absent, his/her Vice President) shall declare any conflict of interest prior to a debate on a specific subject. Upon such declaration the President (or, if absent his/her Vice President) shall vacate the chair and the members present shall elect another person to act as chair person until the conclusion of the debate or a vote is taken.

7.7         No addition, omission or alteration shall be made to the rules except at an AGM or EGM.

7.8          No rules can be changed unless notice of a proposed change is published in the notice of the AGM/EGM meeting.

7.9        Any item passed at an AGM or EGM shall become operative forthwith and shall be strictly enforced, they cannot be rescinded by the committee, but in the event of a circumstance arising which is not covered by any rule, the committee shall have the power to deal with it.

7.10      The committee shall have the authority to correct accidental errors in the notice or minutes of meetings.

7.11      Members wishing to come on the committee must ensure that the General Secretary receives there nomination at least 28 days before an AGM. Emails will not be accepted as a nomination.

7.12    No member whilst an undischarged bankrupt may serve on the committee of or hold any office, post or appointment within the IOA.

7.13     No discharged bankrupt may serve on the committee of or hold any office, post or appointment within the IOA for a minimum of 5 years after the date of discharge.


8.1        The committee shall be authorised, at its discretion to:

8.2        Set subscription rates and affiliation fees.

8.3        Charge for services.

8.4        Collect debts and payments due.

8.5         Invest savings.

8.6         Make donations to charities and/or organizations supportive of the IOA objectives.

8.7        Authorise the keeping of a bank account(s) and the signing of cheques. All cheques to be signed by two (from four) authorised members of the committee. In the event of a resignation a new signatory will be authorised.

8.8        Appoint a competent external body to examine the accounts.

8.9        The committee shall be prohibited from:

8.10      Paying dividends or profit

8.11      Borrowing money

8.12       If, for any reason, the IOA ceases to exist the incumbent committee shall appoint trustees to:

8.13      Draw up, with all reasonable skill and care, an account of the IOA  assets and liabilities.

8.14      Settle outstanding credits and debts

8.15      Distribute, at the committees discretion, the net assets (if any) to a worthy cause or clubs/association within our hobby.

8.16      The trustees shall be entitled to recompense for expenses properly incurred in the conduct of their duties.

8.17       No member of member family, associates or company, shall be entitled to profit from the distribution of the assets of the IOA.

9. APPENDIX 1: Duties of Officers.

9.1 Duties of the President:

  1. To chair meetings of the association and the committee.
  2. To act as a spokesperson/women for the association.
  3. To act, in consultation with other Officers (or in their absence, at least two other members of the committee) on any other issue where time is of the essence, provided that the General Secretary is kept fully and promptly informed.
  4. Any other role authorised by the committee.

9.2 Duties of the General Secretary:

  1. Keep an up to date list of members
  2. Keep the rules up to date and issue copies to all members
  3. Acknowledge, and distribute correspondence, and reply when requested.
  4. Give timely notice of General Meetings and Committee meetings
  5. Keep and produce minute’s recording all decisions made and all actions taken.
  6. To liaise closely with the Treasurer in regards of the membership and any financial issues.
  7. To inform the President of any rule changes he/she proposes within 28 days before the date of the AGM/EGM

9.3 Duties of the Treasurer:

  1. Keep proper accounts of the association’s income and expenses.
  2. Keep proper accounts of the associations assets and liabilities
  3. Advise the committee on financial matters
  4. Prepare annual accounts for an independent external examination
  5. Present to the AGM for approval audited accounts for the preceding 12 months
  6. Inform the General Secretary of the membership fees paid, to liaise closely with the general Secretary in regards of monitoring rings and membership and any financial issues.
  7. Present financial updates and projects at all committee meetings.
  8. Any other role authorised by the committee.

10. APPENDIX 1A: Duties of the Post holders.

10.1 Duties of the Vice President:

  1. To stand in for the President when required.
  2. In the Presidents absence to liaise with the President for a briefing on agenda and ongoing issues.

10.2 Duties of the Ring secretary:

  1. Order rings after liaising with the treasurer to agree delivery schedule.
  2. Send receipts and money to the treasurer.
  3. To liaise closely with the treasurer in regards of monitoring rings and any financial issues.
  4. Any other role authorised by the committee


11.1   Individual members:

The IOA  shall at its discretion. (Other than breeders of European Birds where the IOA  as been granted a license by the Government to sell rings) to members provided that:

  1. The order for the rings is made in writing with payment.
  2. The species, number and size (or if the latter is known, details of the species or variety of birds kept) of the rings required.
  3. Payment for the rings is made in full.

11.2   The purchaser shall give an understanding that:

  1. The ring order specifies the number, size and details of the species or variety of birds of the rings required.
  2. The rings are used only by the member for captive bred chicks of the species/variety of bird intended.
  3. The rings are not tampered with.
  4. The rings are used in accordance with laws of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

11.3       IOA  rings shall be closed aluminum rings complying with DEFRA regulations and COM rules in respect of European Birds.

11.4      A member who fails to uphold his/her obligations under the ring scheme shall be liable to suspension or expulsion in accordance with rules 3.10 and 3.13 inclusive.

11.5      The sale of rings to European Bird fanciers shall end on 31st August each year.


12.1       The IOA  shall recognise the rings issued by its affiliates societies provided that:

12.2      The society has paid its affiliation fee for the current year.

12.3      The rings issued by the society are closed aluminum rings in a continuous unbroken metal band. Split rings and plastic rings will not be accepted. They must be equal in quality to those issued by the IOA.

12.4      The rings must be coloured coded in accordance with the COM colour sequence.

12.5       The rings must be the correct size for the particular species or variety. As stipulated by COM and the IOA.

12.6       The rings must be engraved with the year, size, society initials, and a unique breeder’s code and the number of the ring.

12.7      The society keeps accurate and up to date records of its ring sales so that individual birds and there breeders can be identified upon request with the IOA.

12.8       Individual members of the affiliated society have registered the rings with the IOA  in accordance with APPENDIX 2.

12.9    Members of affiliated societies may register the ring numbers of their birds with the IOA. Applications for registration must be accompanied by:

12.10    The name and address of the breeder

12.11    Evidence of membership of the affiliated society

12.12    The variety of bird(s)

12.13    The ring number(s) in full

12.14     Payment of the IOA  membership and the ring registration fee, which shall be set annually by the IOA.

12.15    Upon receipt of a valid application and the appropriate fee in full, the ring numbers shall be registered by the ring secretary of the IOA.

12.16    European birds shall be registered only if the affiliated society is authorised to issue rings by the secretary of state for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (DEFRA)

12.17    Affiliated societies will have one vote at the AGM/EGM but will not be able to add items to the agenda without sending the issue to the committee for vetting. The committee will have the final say whether it will be included. The Committees decision is final and there is no appeal.

12.18    Affiliated societies attending an AGM/EGM must name there delegate, giving notice prior to any AGM/EGM in writing to the General Secretary.


13.1       Official correspondence is that received through the Office of the general Secretary in writing, to be presented to the Committee at the next available meeting. Electronic mail is not accepted as official correspondence.

13.2   Refusal of Membership:

Rule 3.10 states that “The Committee may, at its absolute discretion, refuse admission to a new member without assigning a reason”. In such an event, the membership fee(s) shall be returned to the applicant. The decision of the Committee is final and is not subject to appeal.

13.3        Once the applicant has been informed of the Committees decision regarding refusal of membership no further correspondence will be entered into regarding the matter.

13.4   Continuation of Membership:

13.5       Annual renewal subscription fees fall due on the 1st January each year (rule 3.0). If the subscription is not received by this date the Association reserve the right to reassign your ID code and treat you as a new member and to comply with the Data Protection Act you will be required to complete an application form as a new member.Any member who so wish’s to put their name forward for the years committee must be a paid up member before the committee meeting of the AGM.  Subscriptions run from the 1st January to the 31st December of each year.


14.1      This disciplinary procedure encompasses the procedure that will always be followed when the Association has to consider the removal of a member from the members list.

14.2   Investigation.

In most cases an investigation will be the first step taken by the Committee, where this is appropriate, no meeting to consider disciplinary action or removal from the membership list will take place until circumstances have been fully investigated to an extent deemed necessary by the Committee. The member may be asked to assist in that investigation. An investigation may conclude that no further action is required or that the matter can be satisfactorily resolved informally.

14.3   Statement of Letter Inviting Member to Meeting.

Where it has been decided that disciplinary meeting to consider removal from the members list is required, the Association will provide a written statement informing the member of the nature of the members alleged conduct or characteristics or other circumstances which have led to the association to contemplate the disciplinary action, dismissal from the members list, the member will be informed of what the basis for this is. Where any documents or other evidence are to be referred to or are considered relevant, the member will be given copies of those documents or details of the evidence in advance of the meeting. If removal of the membership is a potential outcome of the procedure, this will be confirmed in writing.

14.4      The member will be invited to a meeting to discuss the circumstances at an appropriate time and location. This meeting will be arranged at a time which gives the member a reasonable opportunity to consider their response to the written information they have received. As general guidance the member will normally be requested to attend an IOA  Committee meeting which will allow a determined time allocation for the meeting. Only IOA  Committee members will be allowed to attend the meeting along with the member requested to attend. The member should inform those dealing with the matter of any difficulties in respect of attendance as soon as possible. Should the member fail to attend the meeting without informing the General Secretary of the reasons why, it will be deemed that the member has resigned his/her membership of the IOA.

14.5      The member will attend the building and upon request by a Committee member will be invited into the room. The member will then be introduced to the Committee by the Chairperson and the reason for the meeting will be explained to the Committee. The Chairperson will ask the member to make their representation to the meeting for all matters to be considered.

14.6       If the member presents a witness to the Committee the witness shall be called to the room to present his/her statement, upon completion the witness shall leave the room and take no further part in the proceedings.

14.7      A time allocation of 20 minutes will be allowed. Upon completion of the 20 minutes the member will be asked to conclude their representation.

14.8      The member will then be asked to collect all their belongings and leave the room.

14.9        Following the closure of the hearing the Committee will decide what action should be taken, this may include:

  • Expulsion from the membership list for a time span to be determined by the Committee.
  • No further actions.

14.10    The format is to be decided by the Committee on a simple majority with the Chairperson holding the casting vote in the event of a tie.

14.11    After the meeting the member will be informed in writing of the outcome of the meeting and notified of the decision. There will be no right of appeal.

14.12    The member will be informed of the outcome and decision of the Committee within 14 days of the meeting.

14.13   It is expected from all attending the meeting that the meeting will be run in a gentlemanly fashion. Abusive language and/or threatening actions by any person or persons will not be tolerated and that person or persons may be asked to leave the room until the meeting as been completed. In the case of the member acting in the nature stated above the member will be asked to leave the room until the Committee has decided what further action should be take place.

In being granted membership of the IOA  the applicant agrees to be bound by the rules of the association including the above procedures.

Following a meeting between the President and the General Secretary of the IOA  in Feburary 2014 and the IOA  solicitors Wosscow Brown, on a related matter, the President and Secretary were informed that any items omitted from the current rules must be reintroduced as they have not been officially voted on for there removal at either an AGM or EGM.