Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Mississippi
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Mississippi Project

Avian abundance and use patterns in fields of Mississippi managed for the mourning dove: a multi-scale approach

July 2019 - June 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

Agriculture is a dominant land use in large sections of the southeastern United States and thus, a major habitat component available to birds and many other wildlife species. One avian species common to agricultural landscapes is the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura). Mourning doves are among the most abundant birds in North America and are familiar to the public. Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data collected during the past 52 years indicates mourning dove populations have increased in the Eastern Management Unit (EMU), where Mississippi is located. During 2017, approximately 225,100 mourning doves were harvested in Mississippi by 13,800 hunters investing 31,700 hunter-days afield. Research on mourning dove abundance and use of managed fields in Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is ongoing. Study sites include WMAs where fields are actively managed using dove attracting crops and were selected based on records of variable hunting pressure and harvest. In Mississippi, some WMAs are managed with an emphasis on demonstration of field management practices for small game species, namely bobwhite quail and mourning dove. Study areas include Black Prairie WMA, Okatibbee WMA, William C. Deviney WMA, and Muscadine Farms WMA.