The Impact Of Breeding Season Weather On Mourning Dove Nest Success

Open Access
Wszola, Lyndsie Sarah
Area of Honors:
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David Miller, Thesis Supervisor
  • Margaret Brittingham, Honors Advisor
  • mourning doves
  • nest survival
  • gamebird management
Mourning doves are one of the most popular game birds in North America. Compared to other heavily harvested game bird species, factors which affect mourning dove abundance are still relatively poorly understood. In order to set responsible harvest limits for these birds, we need to understand their demographic responses to environmental variation. Conditions during the summer, when breeding occurs, lead to differences in fall population sizes during the hunting season. To better understand how annual weather variation influences mourning dove reproduction, I used mourning dove nest data collected by technicians at Iowa State University from 2005-2007 and weather data from NOAA to build a nest survival model with six weather covariates. I did not find strong support for a relationship between weather and daily survival rate of nests. There was some evidence for a relationship between precipitation and nest survival, but confidence intervals for the effect still included 0. Because there are many other important factors in mourning dove recruitment, future work should examine how weather affects other reproductive parameters such as nestling growth and nest initiation rates.