The Challenges of Dove Surveys

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

This is Passport to Texas

Field surveys are necessary when creating management strategies for game species. Some species are easier to survey than others.

Our dove surveys, for instance, have to be done under some pretty finite weather conditions.

Heidi Baily is a wildlife biologist in east Texas. Weather can put a damper on successful completion of surveys.

The winds can’t be blowing all that much. We don’t want to survey right before or after a rain, because it can affect the amount of birds that we see. So, sometimes it makes it tough to actually get them done.

But they do get done…along a 20 mile route.

We’ll get out there to the beginning of our survey line, about a half an hour before sunup. We’ve got a 20 mile route that we run—exactly the same way every year. As a matter of fact, some of the routes have been around for a couple of decades. At the start, we’ll get out of the truck, and we’ll sit, look and listen for three minutes, and we’ll record what we see or hear. Then we’ll drive a mile and we’ll do the same thing. And that process is repeated over the 20-mile route.

Although when we talked, the dove survey was a couple of weeks away, Heidi Baily said she wouldn’t be surprised if this spring’s violent weather impacts dove populations.

Doves build a really flimsy nest, so if you get a good hard wind, or some of these huge hail storms that we’ve been having, even though doves will re-nest—we might have low reproduction this year.

We’ll know more after biologists collect and analyze survey data.

The Wildlife Restoration Program support our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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