US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Seamans, M. E., K. Parker, and T. A. Sanders. 2011. Mourning dove population status, 2011. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management, Washington, D.C.


This report summarizes information on abundance and harvest of mourning doves collected annually in the United States. For abundance, we report primarily on trends in the number of doves heard per route from the Mourning Dove Call-count Survey (CCS), but also include trends in doves seen per route from the CCS and birds heard and seen per route from the all-bird Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). Harvest and hunter participation are estimated from the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). The CCS-heard data provided evidence that abundance of doves decreased in all three dove management units (Eastern [EMU], Central [CMU], and Western [WMU]) during the long term (1966–2011); within the EMU, however, there is evidence that abundance decreased in hunt states but increased in nonhunt states. In the recent 10 years there was no evidence for a change in mourning dove abundance in the EMU, but there was evidence of a decline in the CMU and WMU. There was evidence for a decline in the CMU over the most recent two years, but no evidence of change in the EMU or WMU. Over the long term, trends based on CCS-heard and CCS-seen data were consistent in the WMU, but inconsistent in the EMU and CMU; based on CCS-seen data there is evidence that abundance increased in the EMU but remained unchanged in the CMU. BBS data provided evidence that the abundance of mourning doves over the long-term increased in the EMU and decreased in the CMU and WMU. Thus, over the long term, the three data sets provided consistent results only in the WMU. Current (2010) HIP estimates for mourning dove total harvest, active hunters, and total days afield in the U.S. were 17,230,400 ± 451,176 (estimate ± SE) birds, 959,900 hunters, and 3,024,200 ± 73,896 days afield. Harvest and hunter participation at the unit level were: EMU, 7,473,500 ± 256,534 birds, 403,200 hunters, and 1,167,100 ± 39,176 days afield; CMU, 7,194,900 ± 351,947 birds, 406,100 hunters, and 1,362,300 ± 58,690 days afield; and WMU, 2,562,000 ± 117,828 birds, 150,600 hunters, and 494,800 ± 21,941 days afield.