Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HABITAT: Inhabits open, shrub-dominated habitats; arid sagebrush country in the West and scrub balsam-willow habitats in timberline areas of western Canada, as well as bunchgrass prairie with rabbitbrush, dry, brushy mountain meadows, and pinyon-juniper woodlands.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Exposed scrub vegetation from desert regions in the south to timberline in Canada.
NEST: Builds nest in shrubs, especially sagebrush, almost always located less than 4 feet above the ground. At timberline, locates nest 6 inches above ground in birch trees, well concealed overhead by interlocking branches. Rarely nests on the ground.
FOOD: During winter, primarily eats weed seeds. In spring and summer, also consumes insects and spiders.
REFERENCES: Paine in Bent 1968b, Reynolds 1981.