Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Locally common.
HABITAT: Prefers mid-western mixed-grass prairies with scattered low thickets of shrubs such as wolfberry; will inhabit a variety of dry, uncultivated shrubby habitats, including grasslands with taller shrubs or small trees, brushy hillsides, overgrown clearings and pastures, parklands, brushy woodland edges, burned-over areas, weedy thickets along roads, swamps, fencerows, railroad tracks and fields, shelterbelts, and other early successional disturbed habitats.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Open brushland.
NEST: Builds nest either on the ground, well hidden in a tuft of grass at the base of a shrub or near a clump of weeds, or up to 4 1/2 feet above ground in a low shrub or small tree. Commonly uses snowberry, rosebushes, serviceberry, and conifers for nesting.
FOOD: Feeds primarily on a wide variety of weed and grass seeds, but will also eat insects in spring and summer, and willow catkins and the buds of elms and other trees in spring.
REFERENCES: Forbush and May 1955, Fox 1961, Hussong 1946, Johnsgard 1979, Knapton 1978, Root in Bent 1968b, Salt 1966.