|Conservation status||Still common and widespread.|
|Family||New World Sparrows|
|Habitat||Boreal scrub, spruce; in winter, forest edges, thickets, chaparral, gardens. Breeds in shrubby habitats of North and of high mountains, including willow thickets at edge of dry tundra, stunted spruce near treeline. Winters in many kinds of brushy habitats, from wild chaparral to parks and gardens. Winter habitat like that of White-crowned Sparrow, but tends to be in denser brush.|
Forages mostly on the ground, under or near dense thickets. Sometimes feeds up in shrubs or low trees. Except when nesting, usually forages in flocks.
3-5. Creamy white to pale greenish, heavily spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is probably by female, and probably lasts 11-12 days. Male may bring food to the female while she is incubating. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young probably leave nest at about 9 days.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young probably leave nest at about 9 days.
Mostly seeds and insects. Diet in winter is mostly seeds of weeds and grasses, also some other plant material such as buds, flowers, newly sprouted shoots, and berries. Also eats some insects and spiders, probably more so in summer. Young are probably fed mostly insects.
Details of nesting behavior are not well known. Male sings from a prominent perch in summer to defend nesting territory. Nest site is usually on the ground, very well hidden under thickets of dwarf willow or other shrubs; typically placed in slight depression, so that rim of nest is nearly level with ground. Rarely placed a couple of feet up in a dense shrub. Nest is a bulky cup of grass, weeds, ferns, leaves, lined with fine grass and sometimes with animal hair.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Apparently migrates at night. Tends to migrate late in fall and early in spring, with biggest numbers on wintering grounds from late October to early April.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsSong consists of 3 descending plaintive notes sounding like oh, dear me. Calls are tseet and chink.
Learn more about this sound collection.