Mourning Dove Banding

Dove Banding 300 x 256

Mourning doves are an important game bird, especially in the southern states.  Banding of doves allows managers to make informed harvest management decisions when a banded bird is reported, as information such as distribution and longevity are determined.  Since 2003, mourning doves have been banded in the United States.  In 2012, Bowdoin implemented their first banding program on mourning doves. Banding occurs between July and August, with traps set to capture doves during early morning and late evening feeding. Wire mesh traps capture doves as they walk through funnels following a trail of millet, and are unable to walk back out since the opening is smaller on the inside.  With each bird trapped, the age, gender, and molt stage are taken before being banded.  With the new band on, birds are placed in the palm of the hand for release.  Like waterfowl hunters, hunters who bag a banded dove are encouraged to report in the banding information to the Bird Banding Lab.  Also, any banded birds found dead should be reported in.  By doing so the knowledge loop is closed for each bird banded.

Mourning doves almost always lay two eggs and may raise four broods a season here in Montana, and up to six broods in the southern part of the country. Both parents share responsibility for the nest, incubating the eggs until they hatch, and feeding them until they fledge. The recently fledged young will stay with the male who continues to feed them for one to two weeks, roosting at night near the nest. Meanwhile, the female lays another set of eggs and continues to incubate the eggs until hatching. Once the last set of young are hatched both parents tend to the young doves. Come September, mourning doves are typically finished with nesting and flocks start to congregate in preparation for a southerly departure.