A Comparison of Individual and Nest Survival of Mourning Doves and Implications to Nesting Studies

Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) nests were located on the Texas A&M University campus during the 1981-1982 nesting seasons. Daily survival rates, calculated using nests and individuals as units of analysis, were compared for eggs, nestlings, and eggs and nestlings combined. No difference (P > 0.05) was detected in any of the comparisons, indicating that equivalent data were obtained by knowing only the fate of the nest and not of individuals within the nest. Thus, disturbance at the nest can be minimized without loss of accuracy. Nest data tended to underestimate survival for eggs while overestimating slightly for nestlings, and eggs and nestlings combined when compared to survival rates calculated for individuals.

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