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FWC JOINS IN THREE-YEAR MOURNING DOVE BANDING STUDY

September 9, 2003
Contact:  Kurt Hodges (850) 627-9674, Ext. 102

Florida is participating with 25 other states in a mourning dove banding study in which 85,000 doves will be banded during the next three years. So far, researchers in Florida have banded 815 doves.

Hunters who harvest a banded dove should call the toll-free number inscribed on the band to report the identification number on the band and the date and location of the hunt.  In return, hunters can keep the band and will get a certificate of appreciation with   information about that particular banded dove to commemorate the hunt.

“The hunter is a critical link in this mourning dove banding study. Reporting banded doves will help us understand the effects of annual hunting regulations on mourning dove populations and help us make good harvest management decisions,” FWC biologist Kurt Hodges said.

The objectives of the multi-state study are to determine mourning dove harvest rates, estimate annual survival, provide information on the geographical distribution of the harvest and develop and refine techniques for a future operational dove-banding program.

Mourning doves are along the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. More of these popular game birds are harvested than all other migratory bird species combined. In Florida, about 18,300 hunters harvested more than 366,000 mourning doves in 2002.  However, wildlife managers have little information from which to guide harvest management decisions.  Banding is one of the most important tools used to obtain this information. 

The number to call to report a banded mourning dove is 1 (800) 327-BAND (2263).

Operators are on duty 24 hours a day, Monday – Friday, during hunting seasons; otherwise 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. During other hours, hunters may use the voice mail system. Banded birds also can be reported online at www.pwrc.usgs.gov, select “Birds,” then “Bird Banding Lab.”

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