Previous Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) nesting studies conducted in areas containing a mixture of edge and continuous habitats have focused on edge habitats. Consequently, little is known about the potential contribution of continuous habitats to dove production. In this study we evaluated the relative importance of these two extensive habitat types by monitoring the habitat use and nest success of 59 radio-marked doves during 1990-1991 in central Missouri. Of 83 nests initiated by our marked sample, most (81.9%) were located in edge habitats. Although continuous habitats were selected less as nest sites, the proportion of successful nests did not differ significantly from that in edge habitats. Our data indicate that continuous habitats should not be considered marginal nesting habitat. If the intensity of use and nest success that we observed are representative regionally or nationally, continuous habitats could contribute substantially to annual Mourning Dove production because of the high availability of these habitats throughout much of the Mourning Dove breeding range.
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Mourning Dove nesting habitat and nest success in Central Missouri