Founded in 1949, SDOU has been South Dakota's primary statewide organization to promote the study of wild birds, to encourage ornithological research, and to preserve the state's avian records. Birders, environmentally-concerned individuals, ornithologists and other natural scientists all contribute to these efforts.
SDOU holds two meetings each year. The meetings are held in various places throughout the state and provide opportunity for sharing information and fun. The autumn meeting program includes presentations on ornithology and related natural history topics. The spring meeting emphasizes field trips.