Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Advisor

Yarrow, Greg

Committee Member

Bridges , William C.

Committee Member

Jodice , Patrick

Abstract

Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) call count indices for South Carolina indicate a negative trend over the past 42 years (1.2% decline per year, p < 0.05). Total harvest estimates in the state increased from 2003-2007. Banding data from doves banded in South Carolina and data from annual examinations of harvested mourning dove wings during 2003-2007 were collected and analyzed. Data sets used contained 6,600 banded doves and 21,240 harvested dove wings. Survival estimates from band recovery analyses for adult and juvenile doves were 0.44 (± 0.04 SE) and 0.35 (± 0.06 SE), respectively. Survival rates were constant from year to year while recovery rates differed annually for adults and juveniles. The average natural mortality estimates for adults and juveniles in the presence of hunting were 0.45 ± 0.122 and 0.47 ± 0.189, respectively, during the study period. The average harvest and kill rates for adults and juveniles were also estimated. Age-at-harvest ratios adapted from annual wing examinations during the harvest were used with recovery rates to derive estimates of annual productivity in the population. Linear regression analysis of productivity estimates found a significant decline in productivity during 2003-2007 (-0.21, p < 0.10). The average productivity estimate was 1.43 (± 0.33 SE) juveniles per adult and the estimated productivity required to maintain a stable population was 1.60 (± 0.30 SE). The effects of constant survival rates, varying hunting mortality estimates and declining productivity estimates were discussed in relation to breeding populations in rural areas of South Carolina.

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