Ecology and management of mourning doves in Missouri
Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are among the most popular migratory game birds in Missouri (Figure 1). Though found across the state year-round, most Missouri doves migrate to the southern United States rather than overwinter here. Mourning doves are classified as a federal migratory species, which means the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages hunting regulations at the national level. Doves' quick flight, erratic movements and edible meat make them a popular species among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts in Missouri, where the annual harvest of mourning doves is greater than that of other game bird species. Managing habitats for doves can provide hours of enjoyment for homeowners and landowners alike. Doves find food and shelter in a variety of habitat types, including pastures, croplands, open forests and forest edges, and in urban and suburban areas. Establishing and managing fields for dove populations can provide recreational hunting opportunities during fall, which can be a source of income for the landowner. Before undertaking efforts to establish or improve dove habitats on your land, you should understand their life history and biology. With that in mind, you can implement management practices to improve or add habitat components that might be in short supply and improve the overall habitat for doves and other species.
Archive version. For most recent information see extension.missouri.edu.