Monarch Migrations

Monarch Migrations

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

~George Carlin

Monarch Butterflies as they migrate through Boston to Mexico

Humans aren’t the only ones in North America who travel south for the winter. Right now, most of the East Coast is in the midst of a huge migration in preparation for the winter: monarch butterflies.

Monarch Butterflies as they migrate through Boston to Mexico

Beginning in September and October, the eastern/northeastern populations travel from Canada all the way down to central Mexico! They will overwinter there, like many other snowbirds, and then start traveling back north in March. Since their lifespans aren’t that long, it is an intergenerational relay race over thousands of miles.

Monarch Butterflies as they migrate through Boston to Mexico
Unfortunately, the habitat for monarchs are under threat at both ends of their migration. Forests in Mexico are being cut down, eliminating the preferred trees of the butterflies. In other places, milkweed is being cut down or burned in fires. Monarchs only lay their eggs in these plants, caterpillars only eat milkweed. Without it, the butterflies can’t survive.

Monarch Butterflies as they migrate through Boston to Mexico

While I only saw a handful of butterflies in Boston as they traveled through, you can see thousands in Mexico. After looking at a few of these trips, they are definitely on my bucketlist now. Traveling by foot or horseback out to see them nested in trees? Sounds amazing. Would you be willing to trek to see that many butterflies?

Monarch Butterflies as they migrate through Boston to Mexico

What can you do to help make sure phenomenon like this continue?

  1. Leave milkweed alone!
  2. Plant butterfly friendly plants in your yard.
  3. Stop using harsh herbicides and try more natural weed killers instead
  4. Report your sightings of monarchs here
  5. Check out this article for more info!

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Monarch Butterflies as they migrate through Boston to Mexico

 

8 thoughts on “Monarch Migrations

  1. It is so important to protect the butterflies! I never knew that caterpillars only eat milkweed! I would love to go to Mexico and see all of the butterflies!

  2. Butterflies truly are such beautiful creatures, so gentle and delicate. I figured d seeing just one such a delight, I will definitely have to add a trip to see thousands to my bucket list x

    1. I think it might be a bit overwhelming, but also awesome at the same time. I just want one to land on me once 🙂

    1. Thanks! A Canon Rebel T3, my Samsung Galaxy 7, and an extra hand holding some of the goldenrod. Sure was windy!

  3. Interesting blog post and some nice photos to back it up. I was totally fascinated by butterflies when I was a kid and one of my favourite places to visit was the Butterfly Palace in Wales. It’s a shame I lost touch as I got older.

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