Song sparrows typically learn their songs from a handful of other birds that have neighboring territories. They are most likely to learn songs that are shared between these neighbors. Ultimately, they will choose a territory close to or replacing the birds that they have learned from. This allows the song sparrows to address their neighbors with songs shared with those neighbors. It has been demonstrated that song sparrows are able to distinguish neighbors from strangers on the basis of song, and also that females are able to distinguish (and prefer) their mate’s songs from those of other neighboring birds, and they prefer songs of neighboring birds to those of strangers.
Their breeding habitat is brushy, shrubby fields across eastern North America. The nest is an open cup on the ground under a clump of grass or in a small thicket.
These birds are permanent residents in the southern parts of their range. Northern birds migrate to the southern United States and Mexico.