Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HABITAT: Prefers open woodlands near ponds, small lakes, or marshes. Occurs around farmlands, river bottomlands, beaver ponds, wooded swamps, and marshes where dead standing trees are in or near water.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Cavities for nesting; suitable cavity trees must have a minimum dbh of 10 inches, and open feeding areas such as meadows, marshes, or open water.
NEST: Prefers to nest in natural cavities and abandoned woodpecker holes, but if nesting holes are scarce, will accept nest boxes placed in open fields or use crevices in buildings. Uses cavities in the trunk or limb of live or dead trees, especially if the cavity is 3 to 15 feet above water. Usually nests singly but is loosely colonial if there are abundant suitable cavities and a good food supply.
FOOD: Feeds mostly on flying insects over open areas. In early spring and in cold weather when insects are scarce, subsists on wild berries and seeds, especially bayberries.
REFERENCES: Beal 1918, Chapman 1955, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Scott et al. 1977, Terres 1980, Thomas et al. 1979.