Dove Banding Program Provides Valuable Information

Hunters urged to watch for bands on harvested doves

September 1 marks the start of the 2012 hunting seasons with dove season opening day. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) officials remind dove hunters to check harvested doves for leg bands. For the last 10 years, biologists in Kansas, as well as those in most other states, have banded mourning doves each summer in an effort to gain information about population size, harvest, and migration patterns.

Dove bands, small aluminum rings with unique nine-digit codes attached around the lower leg, are smaller versions of the leg bands used on ducks and geese that hunters may be more familiar with. KDWPT staff and volunteers banded more than 3,000 doves in 2012, and more than 20,000 in the last 10 years all across the state. The majority of banded doves recovered in Kansas were banded in Kansas, with birds banded in MissouriIowa andNebraska also commonly harvested. Birds banded in Kansas are also frequently recovered in TexasMissouri, and Oklahoma, and as far away as southern Mexico.

Banded doves should be reported using the toll free phone number (800-327-BAND) or website printed on the band ( Banding data is an important component of bird research that benefits both bird populations as well as hunters. By reporting bands, hunters are helping KDWPT better manage dove populations. For more information on doves, dove hunting, and dove banding, visit the “Dove Banding Study page on KDWPT’s website (, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Bird Banding Laboratory webpage ( or