The White-crowned sparrow eats mainly grass and forb seeds. They will also eat insects and spiders especially in the breading season as these provide more protein. They feed on or near the ground in open ares near cover.
The White-crowned sparrow population in higher elevations and northern areas migrates to southern California and Mexico in the winter. Coastal inhabitants stay put.
The White-crowned sparrow is found throughout most of California in the winter, In the summer it is only found along the coast and in higher elevations.
The White-crowned sparrow likes moist brushy habitats.
The White-crowned sparrow usually nests near the ground in dense cover. In forest ares they will use a willow in a maintain meadow or a low conifer branch near the meadow. In coastal areas they use a shrub for nesting.
The White-crowned sparrow likes Salix spp. as well as many of the plant species of the coastal sage scrub plant community. The White- crowned sparrow needs a moist habitat with cover.