Assessing Differences in Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura marginella Nesting Activity After 40 Years

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Wildlife Biology





Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



In 1992–1993 we replicated a mourning dove Zenaida macroura marginella study conducted in 1951–1952 near Fillmore, Utah, to document differences in nesting activity between time periods. Nests along irrigation canals averaged 6.8 nests/km in 1993 vs 36.9 nests/km in 1952. Dove production was 2.4 offspring per pair in 1993 vs 3.9 offspring per pair in 1952, and nest abandonment was higher: 12.9 vs 6.2%, respectively. No differences occurred in nest success (57.1 vs 57.4%) or nest predation (35.7 vs 29.6%). The breeding season was 80 days in 1952, 75 days in 1992, and 70 days in 1993. Nest height was lower in 1992–1993 than in 1951–1952, and nest frequency by vegetation type changed from predominately willow Salix spp. to a broader distribution of nests among available vegetation types. Two distinct riparian habitats existed in both time periods: a natural creek and man-made irrigation canals. The highest nest density occurred in riparian areas during both time periods, but the relative number of nests within these riparian habitats differed, with the highest number of nets occurring along the creek in 1992–1993 and along the irrigation canals in 1951–1952. The highest predation rates occurred in creek habitat during 1992–1993.