Imprinting in an Altricial Bird: The Blond Ring Dove (Streptopelia risoria)

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Science  09 Oct 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3641, pp. 265-266
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3641.265


Newborn ring doves were taken away from their parents when they were from 4 to 14 days old. They were then either raised by hand in complete visual isolation from other members of their species or placed in a community cage after weaning. They were tested as adults in a free-choice situation between human beings and ring doves. An optimum period for imprinting was found when they were about 7 to 9 days old. The controls showed that subsequent experiences during the life span of a bird also have an effect on the choice of a mate, and, in this species, imprinting can be said to be reversible.