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Keywords:

  • band;
  • harvest rates;
  • mourning dove;
  • recovery probability;
  • recovery rate;
  • reporting probability;
  • reporting rate;
  • toll free;
  • web address;
  • Zenaida macroura

Abstract

Federal migratory bird bands have been inscribed with a postal address and toll-free telephone number (toll-free bands) since 1995 for their reporting, but in 2007 the postal mail address was replaced with an internet address (web-address bands). The reporting rate of web-address bands is unknown, and knowledge of band reporting probabilities is an integral part of bird band-recovery studies designed to obtain unbiased estimates of harvest rates and recovery rates if use of band types differs across space and time. We estimated web-address band reporting probabilities for mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) in the United States by comparing the relative recovery rate (ratio) of web-address to toll-free bands and applying this as an adjustment factor to the known reporting probabilities of toll-free bands. Cooperators banded 132,386 doves representing 57,982 (44%) web-address and 74,404 (56%) toll-free bands in July and August during 2008–2010 across 34 states, 12 regions, and 3 management units. Of the birds banded, 4,642 (3.5%) were direct recoveries, as a result of being shot, and all but 3 were reported via telephone or internet. Nationally, internet reporting accounted for 16.3% of toll-free bands and 42.9% of web-address bands recovered. Web-address bands had a greater recovery rate than toll-free bands (ratio = 1.081, SE = 0.027). We found some evidence of spatial variation in ratio estimates at management unit and regional scales, but the variation was primarily at the regional level where it was not great (range = 1.015–1.213) and statistical support for this variation was not particularly strong (SE = 0.129). Nationally, the web-address band reporting probability was 0.535 (SE = 0.021), an absolute increase of 0.040 compared to the reporting probability of toll-free bands. The additional reporting probability of web-address bands relative to toll-free bands must be accounted for in band-recovery studies used to obtain estimates of harvest rates and recovery rates if use of band types differs across space and time for mourning doves and possibly other species. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.