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K-State Today

March 2, 2023

Biology professor awarded grant to study bird population declines

Submitted by Division of Biology

David Haukos

David Haukos, associate professor of biology and leader of the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, received a grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The $821,000 project will focus on evaluating declines and management of mourning dove populations.

Mourning doves are a widespread bird species in North America and the most commonly harvested migratory game bird. Populations of this species have been steadily declining during the past decades. Haukos and doctoral student Natalie Pegg will investigate population densities, survival, reproduction and movement of mourning doves in rural and urban landscapes across the state, including public lands. In addition, they will investigate how space use of mourning doves is affected by Eurasian collared doves, a non-native species that was introduced in the United States in the 1970s.

"Mourning dove populations are not considered to be in any danger of extirpation, but recent 10-year trends of declining population abundance, harvest and hunter participation are of concern to managers," Haukos said. "Yet, Kansas does not have any baseline data on breeding mourning doves."

The newly-funded project will close this gap and provide the first research on this valuable species in the state.