Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monarchs in Danger

The first butterflies of the season have appeared—watch for Cabbage Whites fluttering over the grass at the edges of our wooded areas. One of our favorite butterflies, the colorful Monarch, will make its appearance this summer. You may not see many of them this year, though. Our Nature Guide Jon Latimer tells us why.

"There are likely to be many fewer Monarch butterflies in our area this year. The Monarchs we usually see spend the winter in the mountains of northern Mexico. Then they migrate north as the weather warms. Unfortunately, just as our winter was unusually harsh, this was a bad year for the Monarchs' winter roost. Severe hailstorms and heavy rains took a terrible toll on the Monarchs. Experts estimate that as many as half the total population were killed by bad weather. So, we can expect to see many fewer Monarchs in our area this summer, and the future of the Monarch species is beginning to look a little shaky.

"If you do see a Monarch, remember that this is a hardy survivor as well as a beautiful creature. And pass along the hope that the population will recover in the next few years."