In early August, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) welcomed volunteers to research the mourning dove population at the Reed Memorial Wildlife Area.
“You’re being a scientist for a day,” said Rick Bredesen, MDC wildlife management biologist who has been doing this project for about five years.
Participants accompanied MDC employees to trap sites where they place small identification bands on the doves and then release them back into the wild.
“We’re banding mourning doves to figure out what recruitment is so we can have an idea of what the population is, so we can have bag limits and season limits,” said Bredesen.
According to the MDC, dove hunting is a popular sport and many consider doves good eating.
Information gathered during dove tagging:
- Hatching year bird -- the bird was hatched in current year
- After hatching bird – bird born before current year
- Feather molt— if gender can be assigned to bird
Unlike online research, the program allowed for anyone to take part in the process with hands-on experience.
“They’re actually trapping for a day with our dove trappers,” said Bredesen.
Dove season for both Missouri and Kansas begins on September 1 and last until November 29.
More wildlife and nature programs can be found on the MDC’s website.