Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Locally common, although numbers are decreasing in the Northeast due to a decline in agriculture; extending range in the West because of irrigation.
HABITAT: Prefers large open fields of tall grass, alfalfa, clover, or grain crops, but also inhabits wet meadows, ungrazed to lightly grazed mixed-grass prairies, and fallow fields. During migration, frequents marshes and grain fields.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Large expanses of grassland or forb cover.
NEST: Builds nest on the ground, usually in a hollow scraped in the ground or in a natural depression, rarely above ground attached to plant stems. Always locates nest in dense stands of tall vegetation such as hay, alfalfa, clover, or thick growths of weeds.
FOOD: Prefers to forage in cultivated grain fields, gleaning insects, seeds of weeds and grasses, and waste grain from standing vegetation and on the ground.
REFERENCES: Beal 1900, Bent 1958, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979.