We tested whether presence of white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica) and mourning doves (Z. macroura) in South Texas, USA, was associated with any of the land cover types recorded in the 2001 National Land Classification Database. We used the point-transect method to conduct presence–absence surveys for both species at 236 points encompassing 744 observations. Within predefined land cover types surrounding each survey point, we used Geographic Information Systems to determine the proportions of each land cover type present. We used randomization tests to compare proportions of land cover types present at points with and without doves. We used Program DISTANCE to estimate dove densities at survey points and to test whether certain land cover types were associated with greater dove densities. Our results indicated white-winged dove occurrence in South Texas was positively associated with urban land and cropland, whereas mourning dove occurrence was positively associated with cropland. For land cover types found to be associated with dove presence, estimated density for each dove species increased as the proportion of associated land cover type increased. These results can assist wildlife biologists in the development of a more efficient and targeted protocol for censusing doves. In addition, our methods can be applied to other species across several geographic areas and landscape scales.
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