Progress Report On Carolina Sandhills Mourning Dove Studies

The objectives, methods, and study areas of the Carolina Sandhills mourning dove investigation are described as they apply to present and future research. Indexes to mourning dove nesting densities are gained by means of 25 call-count routes in a 10-county intensive study area and 45 call-count routes in a 33-county extensive study area. These indexes will be correlated with habitat characteristics to determine specific qualities of desirable dove nesting habitat and to gain insight into possible effects of widespread changes in land-use and agricultural practices on dove nesting populations. The 25 intensive-study-area routes were each run three times per year. In addition, several were covered weekly throughout each summer. Extensive-study-area routes were run only once per year. The average number of doves heard calling per intensive-study-area route was 47.39 in 1968 and 48.14 in 1969. Averages for the extensive study area were 38.80 in 1968 and 37.49 in 1969. Other call-count survey results are presented and discussed, including doves heard, rates of calling, and doves seen. Opening-day dove kill and hunter success on two managed hunts within the intensive study area were sampled. For these two hunts, average bag sizes were 6.15 and 5.61; limit bags (12) were obtained by 18.5 percent and 9.2 percent of the hunters; and age ratios in the kill were 4.9 and 6.6 immatures per adult. Project dove trapping and banding accomplishments are discussed.

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