The bird is entirely black aside from an orange and cream colored patch on its shoulder.

2021 Bird Migration

Amy Alstad Care for the Earth, Natural Resources, Prairie Notes Leave a Comment

September is the peak month for bird migration in our area. Some species including early migrators like Baltimore Orioles and Yellow Warblers are already mostly departed. Many species who spent the summer in our area now gather in mixed flocks in large numbers to feast on berries, insects and seeds as they store energy for their journey. They are joined by other species who pass through WI on their migration down from their northern breeding grounds. Soaring birds like hawks, eagles, pelicans and swallows usually migrate during the day. Songbirds often migrate at night when the wind subsides, and spend …

Endangered Butterfly, Regal Fritillary Spotted on Wisdom Prairie

Amy Alstad Care for the Earth, Natural Resources, Prairie Notes Leave a Comment

We were thrilled to learn that a sharp-eyed visitor to Wisdom Prairie spotted a Regal Fritillary last month. Regal Fritillaries are a state-endangered species. There have only been a handful of confirmed sightings in Dane County in the past 20 years. Regal Fritillaries are famous for being fussy about their habitat; the fact that one came to visit Holy Wisdom is a wonderful endorsement of the quality of our prairie. This sighting, which we learned about after it was reported to Wisconsin Butterflies, also serves as a strong endorsement for the importance and role of citizen science programs. It is a …

Kids On the Prairie Is Growing

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Children's Ministry, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Kids on the Prairie, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

By Julie Melton, Sunday Assembly, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Click on images to watch slideshow After a year-long break due to Covid-19, Kids On the Prairie returned in April and May. What a great return it has been! More than 20 adults and children participated each month. Care for the Earth is a Benedictine value enacted at Holy Wisdom Monastery by the Friends of Wisdom Prairie and many others. Kids On the Prairie is one of the environmental education activities that we support to promote this value because Earth’s future depends on children respecting the environment. We want to nurture …

Woodchuck family makes Holy Wisdom home

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Weekly Wisdom 1 Comment

By Howard Fenton, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council At this time of the year a lot of different kinds of families are calling Holy Wisdom home. And there’s one in particular I’d like to tell you about; the woodchuck, or the groundhog to some, or the whistle pig to others. The woodchuck, which doesn’t actually chuck wood, or eat it, is in the Order of Rodents, a member (the largest in fact) of the squirrel family. It’s scientific name is Marmota monax. The genus name gives you a clue that the woodchuck is related to marmots, while the species name …

In May, queen bumble bees are buzzing

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

By Julie Melton, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council That large, flying insect you that just buzzed by you was likely a queen bumble bee on a survival mission. She might be the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee looking for a suitable nest site, finding flowers to feed herself, and constructing a nest. She is the original single parent. Last fall she mated with a male bumble bee. Then she fortified herself with nectar and pollen so that she could survive the winter. Everyone else in her colony and all the males died. She and other potential queens were left to form …

Kids on the Prairie: Surprise and Awe

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Children's Ministry, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Kids on the Prairie, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

By Julie Melton, Sunday Assembly member and Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council member What happened last Sunday morning was the perfect return to our Kids On the Prairie walks. Twenty-two parents and children spent an hour and a half exploring nature’s beauty and surprises. To start with, everyone got a hand lens. The small plastic lenses were nothing special, but they signaled that there is something special hidden in ordinary places: three cold spiders on a piece of old dried wood, a tiny bee on a dandelion, and little bugs on Nannyberry shrub buds and apple blossoms. These wonders and …

prairie smoke at Holy Wisdom Monastery

May phenology

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Phenology 1 Comment

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 this month. 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. No two Mays are the same. Events can be a few weeks earlier or later than …

5 things you can do to show your love for birds

Amy Alstad Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

Their songs uplift our spirits and their powers of flight captivate our imagination.  Birds add immeasurable beauty and joy to our world, but their numbers are declining and they need our help! As spring migrants return to Wisconsin, here are five things you can do to help our feathered friends. Keep a list Birders just love lists! And for good reason; keeping track of the birds you see at your favorite neighborhood park, or in your backyard, or even all the species you see in a year will challenge your ID skills and reveal patterns you might otherwise miss. Spread the word …

Earth, Our Home

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Prayer & Worship 1 Comment

By Dennis Crowley O Sacred Cosmos, wherein our Universe so massively and silently moves.  O Sacred Cosmos, where our Galaxy joins with numberless Galaxies drifting in spaces beyond our comprehension. O Sacred Cosmos, it is within this Universe and this Galaxy, that our small Solar System imperceptibly circulates in gyrations beyond our daily reckoning. O Sacred Cosmos, we come to you with heavy hearts because Earth, held so gently in this, oh so small Solar System, is in pain. O Sacred Cosmos, Earth is being buffeted, torn, scorched, and polluted by the very species honored with the charge, “Be faithful …

An owl family gets some help

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie 3 Comments

By Julie Melton, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council On March 13, 2021, during one of our monthly bird surveys, Friends of Wisdom Prairie volunteers spotted a Great Horned Owl (GHO). A few minutes after the initial sighting, we spotted a nest close by with another GHO sitting on it. We knew we had seen a mated pair. We weren’t surprised because we had seen owls on the grounds before. Since December, they could be heard calling.  A few days later, one of the birders in our group, Triet Tran, sent out a picture of two nestlings in the nest. Triet …