October 7, 2011

The Monarch Migration

For the monarch butterflies, life is complicated enough even in a good year. Now, though, they’ve got to deal with Texas.

The monarchs in recent weeks have been beating their way south and west across eastern North America, riding winds a thousand feet above the ground, covering 25 miles or more every day. Now they’ve reached a vast area in Texas stricken by drought and charred by wildfires. “They’re going to be encountering a thousand miles of hell as they go through a nearly waterless, flowerless, nectarless landscape.”

They are guided by navigational clues — celestial, magnetic — that scientists haven’t yet decoded. No single butterfly makes the entire round-trip journey. How a butterfly finds the same set of mountains in Mexico visited by a grandparent or great-grandparent is a scientific mystery. But this year the butterfly's migratory pattern could be endangered.

Be thoughtful of the Monarch and help them on their
journey, leave a little water and nectar out for them to find and enjoy their beauty as they flutter by. My butterfly weed is one of the things that DID survive the drought this summer.