Seasonal changes in concentrations of plasma LH, prolactin, thyroxine (T4), GH and corticosterone were measured in captive male ring doves exposed to natural lighting at latitude 56°N. Plasma LH levels decreased steeply in autumn when the daylength fell below about 12.5 h but increased in November as the birds became short-day refractory. In comparison with plasma LH concentrations in a group of short-day refractory birds exposed to 6 h light/day from the winter solstice, plasma LH levels in birds exposed to natural lighting increased further in spring after the natural daylength reached about 12.5 h. There were no seasonal changes in plasma prolactin concentrations and plasma T4 concentrations were at their highest during December, January and February, the coldest months of the year. The seasonal fall in plasma LH levels in September was associated with a transitory increase in plasma T4, a transitory decrease in plasma corticosterone and a sustained increase in plasma GH. It is suggested that in the ring dove, short-day refractoriness develops rapidly in November to allow the bird to breed when the opportunity arises, during the winter and early spring. The annual breeding cycle is synchronized by a short-day induced regression of the reproductive system in the autumn, the primary function of which may be to enable the birds to meet the energy requirements for the annual moult. The changes in plasma T4, corticosterone and especially of GH at this time of year are probably concerned with the control of moult or the associated changes in energy requirements.