Productivity of an Urban White-Winged Dove Population at the Eastern Boundary of the Coastal Prairies Ecoregion in Texas
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Eastern White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica asiatica) have been steadily expanding their breeding range in Texas northward since the 1950s. The cause of this range expansion could be attributed to habitat loss and land use changes within the original breeding range as a result of increased urbanization and agricultural production in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV). Newly colonized areas by White-winged Doves are generally urban with non-migratory populations. Study sites were located in residential neighborhoods in Katy, Texas in once farmed, but now abandoned rice fields. My objectives were to survey for active nests of White-winged Doves at 10 randomly selected 1-ha sites and collect micro-habitat measurements at nest sites and trees during the 2009 nesting seasons. A tree survey determined the availability of potential nesting sites. Twenty-six active nests were found in 2009. The majority of nests (19 out of 26, 73%) occurred in three species of trees: live oak (11, 58%); loblolly pine (5, 26%); and blue jack oak (3, 16%) with the other 27% in seven different tree species. I rejected the null hypothesis of random selectivity of nesting trees by White-winged Doves (P = 0.02). Mean empirical nest success was 74.5%. Three variables (tree height, nest height, and mean canopy width) explained 76% of total variance influencing nest success.