Ralph E. Mirarchi

Seed Production and Cost of Mourning Dove Field Plantings in Alabama

Cost-effectiveness of various planting options is an important consideration in selecting planting strategies for mourning dove (Zenaida macroura, hereafter ‘dove') fields. We documented costs and seed yields of three cultivated and three wild dove foods, and tested effects of fertilization rate, row-spacing, and seeding rate on seed yield of highly-preferred dove foods. Browntop millet generally had the greatest seed yield and lowest cost/kg of seed produced. Broadleaf signalgrass (Brachiaria platyphylla) generally was the second highest-yielding species, but high seed cost limited cost/...


Effects of Seed Weathering on Food Selection by Mourning Doves

Changes in seed nutrient content during field weathering may have important effects on food selection by mourning doves (Zenaida macroura, hereafter ‘doves') and other granivorous wildlife. We documented changes in food selection by mourning doves with seed weathering, and we compared patterns of seed preference pre- and post-weathering with seed deterioration rates documented in an earlier-published study. Doves selected white proso millet over all other species among fresh seeds, but selected broadleaf signalgrass (Brachiaria platyphylla) over most others among weathered seeds. Results...


Mass Loss as an Index of Seed Deterioration in a Terrestrial Environment

Deterioration of seeds due to weathering may affect the quantity and quality of food available for granivorous wildlife through time. Deterioration rates of seeds during field weathering in terrestrial environments largely are unknown, and the relationship between seed mass loss and loss of specific nutrients during weathering has not been tested. We documented losses of overall mass and masses of 7 nutrients in selected seeds during field weathering and tested the relationships between overall mass loss and loss of individual nutrients and between overall mass loss and seed water and...


Hunter Opinions Regarding Mourning Dove Management on Alabama Public Lands

The importance of public lands for mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) hunting in the Southeast may increase as other dove hunting opportunities decrease. Maximimizing satisfaction of dove hunters on public lands requires knowledge concerning hunter opinions and preferences. We documented dove hunter satisfaction on state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in Alabama with respect to habitat and hunter management. Crops planted were the primary management concern; hunters preferred corn and browntop millet for dove hunting. Most dove hunters encountered unsafe conditions primarily blamed on...