Great Basin Naturalist


Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) in a cold-desert ecosystem used man-made ponds for watering, feeding, gritting, loafing, and courting. Diurnal pond use by doves peaked in the morning and evening. Monthly dove use of ponds fluctuated slightly during the summers of 1984 and 1985. Pond size, pH, and shoreline characteristics had little association with the intensity of pond use by doves; but geographic isolation of ponds was weakly associated with pond-use intensity. The number of doves present at the beginning of the one-hour period was a poor indicator of the number of arrivals during that period. We conclude that man-made water sources are important in areas where water availability may limit mourning dove productivity and abundance. It is suggested that mourning dove arrival rates could be used as a population index in cold-desert areas.