Comments: Forest and open woodland, scrub oak, deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous areas, especially in mountainous regions (Subtropical and Temperate zones) (AOU 1983). Also agricultural areas in some regions, which may provide important food resources in winter (e.g., in Massachusetts, Vander Haegen et al. 1989). Roosts in trees at night. Severe winters and/or lack of winter habitat are important limiting factors in many northern areas. In a South Dakota ponderosa pine ecosystem, females with young selected mainly large meadows (Rumble and Anderson 1993).
Nests normally on the ground, usually in open areas at the edge of woods; rarely nests in trees (Fletcher, 1994, Wilson Bull. 106:562-563). In South Dakota, almost all nests initiated in April were in woodland communities whereas nests started after the first week of May were primarily in grassland communities; selected nest sites with concealing vegetation immediately above the nest; nests were placed in habitats associated with high interspersion; shrubs were strongly selected for as nesting cover in grassland; grassland nest sites had a high degree of visual obstruction immediately around the nest site (Day et al. 1991). Sites with good concealment also were selected in Arkansas (Badyaev 1995).