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Duration of Dependence of Wild Fledgling Mourning Doves upon Parental Care

Ronald R. Hitchcock and Ralph E. Mirarchi
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jan., 1984), pp. 99-108
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3808457
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3808457
Page Count: 10
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Duration of Dependence of Wild Fledgling Mourning Doves upon Parental Care
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Abstract

The duration of dependence of wild fledgling mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) upon parental care was determined in east-central Alabama from March through September 1980-81. Data on behavioral interactions with parent doves were collected from 35 nestlings-fledglings equipped with radio transmitters and 34 nestmates marked with colored wing tags. Fledglings were fed consistently by at least one parent through 27 days posthatching (PH), but began feeding themselves at 17 days PH. After 16 days PH, feeding of fledglings was primarily the responsibility of the male parent. Fledglings attained feeding independence by 18 or 21 days of age if adequate food was present within 50 or 200 m, respectively, of the nest tree. Brooding and roosting interactions with parent doves were infrequent and appeared to be unimportant to survival after fledging (approximately 15 days PH). Certain parent-fledgling behavioral interactions (feeding and brooding) were protracted during late-season nestings, but the duration of absolute fledgling dependence upon parental care was not affected.

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