The AOC was formed in 1960 to promote the study of birds. The club's constitution limits the size of the membership to 75, with the purpose of enabling small group discussions and outings for the purpose of learning more about native birds. The pattern established in the early years and still maintained is that the club has an evening meeting and a Sunday outing each month except for December and January. Meetings typically include an address on a subject of relevance to ornithology, a section called bird notes devoted to recent sightings of interest, and "bird of the month", a section presented by a club member and offering a brief view of a particular bird species or bird family. Sunday outings visit local bird watching spots for identification in the field. Once a year there is a Spring Excursion for a week to an area further afield. Each year the club produces a magazine entitled "Bird Talk" with summaries of the outings and other articles about birds.