Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Rare to locally common.
HABITAT: Inhabits forests of the western mountains, mostly from 4,500 to 7,800 feet but as high as 10,000 feet elevation. Prefers woods with dense, thicket-like cover close to relatively open areas. Favors ponderosa pine forests but also occurs in forests of spruce-fir, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, aspen, and pinyon-juniper.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Some undergrowth or intermixture of oaks in the forest.
NEST: Usually nests in abandoned flicker or other woodpecker nest cavities from 7 to 25 feet above ground in aspen, oaks, or pines. Will forceably evict a flicker if an abandoned cavity is not available; rarely nests in holes constructed by bank swallows.
FOOD: Consumes a diet of insects and other invertebrates such as spiders, scorpions, and centipedes; prefers moths, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers and will sometimes eat small birds and small mammals.
REFERENCES: Coats in Farrand 1983b, Heintzelman 1979, Karalus and Eckert 1974, Oberholser 1974a, Phillips et al. 1964.