Monarch Butterfly Migration

Recently we went to Southport, NC to celebrate Sylvia’s birthday (Sylvia insists on having a birthday EVERY single year.) While we were there, we caught the Monarch Butterfly migration as it was passing through.

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Though it is far less well known than bird migrations, Monarch Butterflies do migrate South to warmer climates during the winter. In the Western US these migrations tend toward California and the Pacific coast while in the eastern US most head to Mexico, the gulf coast and Florida.  Thousands of these butterflies can sometimes be observed during stopovers on their migration path. Southport is a known hotspot for both bird and butterfly migration….the air was filled with Monarchs everywhere we went.

An interesting aspect of this migration is that no one butterfly makes the complete North-South cycle. Because an adult monarch only lives a few weeks, the Southbound generation will perish shortly after arriving at their destination. It is their children’s or children’s children that will make the trip north again the following season. Typically, it requires four generations of butterflies to span one migration cycle.

This one plot of flowering garden shrubs had about as many Monarchs fluttering around it as I had seen in my whole life till that point.

 

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