Daily And Seasonal Activity Patterns Of Mourning Doves On The Aec Savannah River Plant

The daily and seasonal variation in dove abundance along roads was studied on the AEC Savannah River Plant between May 3 and October 16, 1965. A 58-mile road census was conducted five days a week sampling all times of the day during each week. The effect of ten weather factors on daily dove counts was tested. Mourning doves were active primarily between the hours of 0530 to 0900 and 1600 to 1930. Within these periods, greatest numbers were observed from 0600 to 0700 and 1700 to 1800. This pattern was maintained throughout the study period and was not noticeably affected by the time of official sunrise and sunset. No doves were observed at night or during the early afternoon hours. Doves were most abundant in May during the spring migration, followed by a decrease to the summer breeding population in June. The number of doves increased with the addition of young until the end of August when the fall migration began. Only scattered individuals were observed after mid-September. The lack of a late summer population peak is attributed to the absence of feeding areas for large migrating flocks. Increased dove activity was correlated with increasing maximum temperature and decreasing maximum relative humidity.

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