Generally found in coniferous or mixed coniferous forest and forest edge, it is readily attracted to artificial feeders, especially those with black thistle seed. This species occurs in small to large flocks all year round, and it often associates with goldfinches and juncoes. It nests in small colonies, and the nest is placed high on a horizontal limb toward its tip. The nesting material is twigs, grass fur and feathers. During the winter, this species can be quite nomadic and eruptive. The food is mainly seeds, buds, and flower nectar in the summer and rarely insects.
The four-digit banding code is PISI.