By Sylvia Marek
Phenology is a science focused on observing and recording biological events from year to year and their relationships to the change of seasons and climate.
These are the “normal” phenology events we expect to see here and in the Madison area in December. We would love to hear about what you are seeing on the grounds of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Please comment on this post with what you are observing, where at Holy Wisdom and the date you observed the event.
- Residents: chickadee, cardinal, white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, house finch and woodpeckers
- Winter visitors from the north: tree sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, brown creeper and northern finches (pine siskin, purple finch, red-breasted nuthatch, redpolls and crossbills)
- Over wintering: robins, bluebirds and cedar waxwings, especially near fruit trees
- Resident great horned owls pair bonding in courtship calls.
- Visiting owls from the north include snowy, saw-whet, short-eared and long-eared
- Waterfowl leave when lakes freeze (tundra swans, coots, bufflehead, geese…)
- Annual Christmas Audubon bird count
- Snow, hoarfrost, ice…
- Animal tracks in the snow: rabbit, deer, fox, coyote, deer mice and tunnels made by voles and shrews
- Flying squirrels active at night.
- Deer start to shed antlers
- Earliest sunsets of the year (4:20 pm)
- Venus and Jupiter very bright
- Winter constellations: Orion, Cassiopeia, Pleiades, Big Dipper, North Star
- Northern lights
- Look for cocoons of cecropia and promethia moths
- Goldenrod galls
- Eggs of tree crickets (little holes lined up along a twig)
Sylvia Marek is a highly trained and experienced naturalist. She worked for the University of Wisconsin Arboretum for many decades and is a first rate birder.
Please share the biological events you notice while at Holy Wisdom Monastery below (remember to include what you see, where and when).