Kansas City, Mo. – People interested in mourning doves and wildlife studies will have the chance to watch biologists conducting a bird banding program at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer the program Aug. 12 through Aug. 16. Participants can join hour-long shifts beginning at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Six people per shift can participate, advance registration is required by calling 816-622-0900.
Biologists band doves and other wild birds to study population numbers and movements across North America, Central America and South America during migrations. The mourning dove is also the most popular game bird in the United States for hunting. Studies help biologists determine season dates and limits to sustain healthy populations, said Rick Bredesen, an MDC wildlife biologist and manager of the Reed Area.
Biologists bait traps set on the ground baited grain and doves enter the traps. They are removed from the traps and given a leg band with an identification number and a telephone number to call if found. Then the doves are released. The gender and age of the birds is recorded if it can be determined. All the information is sent to the North American Bird Banding Laboratory at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. The national bird banding program is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
When bands from doves are recovered, often by hunters, the finder calls the telephone number on the band and the information is recorded by staff at the American Bird Banding Laboratory.
Doves are capable of long travels, Bredesen said.
“We’ve had bands reported from birds we banded here at the Reed Area that were found in Idaho, Ohio, Florida and Mexico,” he said.