Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Fairly common.
HABITAT: Almost always found near water, breeding in boggy spruce woods, along swampy wooded shores of lakes, streams, tree-bordered marshes, beaver ponds, and swamps; and on wooded islands in lakes. Rarely occurs in fields with other blackbirds. In winter, does not stay so close to water, occurring also in open woodland, scrub, pastures, weedy gardens, and cultivated land.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Wooded wetlands during the breeding season.
NEST: Nests in dense growths of evergreens, especially second-growth spruce or balsam, 2 to 20 feet, but typically less than 10 feet above the ground. Also uses dead trees or clumps of deciduous bushes such as buttonbush or sweetgale along streamsides for nesting.
FOOD: Forages by gleaning insects, weed seeds, waste grain, and wild fruit from the ground in pastures, fields, or grassy edges of wetlands, or by wading in shallow water.
REFERENCES: Beal 1900, Bent 1958, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Kaufman in Farrand 1983c, Kennard 1920.