Mourning Doves are the most commonly hunted game bird in New Mexico based on hunter harvest data collected by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Research is limited on the influence of rangeland ecological condition on Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) populations in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico. Mourning Dove numbers were evaluated periodically (1988–1989) on ranges in late- and mid-seral conditions in south central New Mexico based on the Dyksterhuis quantitative climax procedure. Strip transect procedures were used to estimate Mourning Dove populations. Concurrently, vegetation canopy cover was determined by line intercept. On the basis of percent cover, grasses were the most abundant group on late-seral range while shrubs dominated mid-seral range. Mourning Dove sightings did not differ (P > 0.05) between late- and mid-seral ranges, nor did they differ (P > 0.05) among grassland, shrubland, and shrub-grass mosaic communities. Mourning Dove populations showed seasonal differences (P < 0.05), with numbers highest in summer and fall and lowest in winter and spring. Data from our study indicate that Chihuahuan Desert ranges in either mid- or late-seral stages provide equally suitable habitat for Mourning Doves.
Saiwana, Lewis; Holechek, Jerry L.; Valdez, Raul; and Cardenas, Manuel
"Mourning Dove numbers on different seral communities in the Chihuahuan Desert,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 61
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol61/iss1/7