Examination of 8,141 adult mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) in North and South Carolina revealed that substantial numbers complete primary feather molt in September. Adult mourning doves shed primaries at the rate of 1 per 14 days. No difference was found in this rate between sexes or among years, 1969-74. The initiation of molt differed from year to year, and female molt always preceded male molt. Available data show that southern doves complete primary molt a month earlier than northern doves. Therefore, age based on primary molt can be biased upward if all molt-complete wings from southern hunting samples are considered immature.
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Primary feather molt of adult mourning doves in North and South Carolina