This sparrow nests in open coniferous forests and pine-oak woodlands. The nest is made of grass and lined with hairs and placed in dense vegetation from the ground to low shrubs. Cowbirds commonly parasitize this species. Food in the summer is primarily insects with some seeds, but during the winter is almost totally seeds. This sparrow apparently can make water from the seeds and go without actual water for up to three weeks in the winter. Regularly occurs in small flocks at lower elevations in the winter and in migration.
The four-digit banding code is CHSP.