Seventy-nine mourning dove call-count runs were made on a 32-km route in Osage County, Missouri, May 1-August 31, 1971 and 1972. Circular study areas, each 61 ha, surrounding stop numbers 4 and 5, were delineated for intensive nest searches and population estimates. Tallies of cooing male doves along the entire call-count route were quite variable in repeated runs, fluctuating as much as 50 percent on consecutive days. There were no consistent relationships between numbers of cooing males tallied at stops 4 and 5 and the numbers of current nests or doves estimated to be present in the surrounding study areas. We doubt the suitability of call-count procedures to estimate precisely the densities of breeding pairs, nests or production of doves on small areas. Our findings do not dispute the usefulness of the national call-count survey as an index to relative densities of mourning doves during the breeding season over large portions of the United States, or as an index to annual population trends.
Additional publication details
Evaluating call-count procedures for measuring local mourning dove populations