As an Amazon Associate and Google Adsense publisher, I earn from qualifying purchases and ads

July 8, 2012

Monarch Butterfly Migration Under Threat in North America

Monarch Butterfly
Taken in Tauranga, New Zealand

Monarch Butterfly Prints
If you take a look through my photography, you'll possibly notice how much of it is taken in the great outdoors, featuring landscapes, flora and fauna. I just love to try and catch a shot of any bird or animal of whatever kind I encounter along the way.

One thing you won't see many of in my lineup, though, are photos of butterflies. That's because I just don't encounter that many of them as I move about Southern California and the Southwest of the United States.

So recently Monarch butterflies have been on my mind. If you live in Southern Californai, have you noticed there are barely any to be seen? I have not seen one yet this summer, and recall seeing very few over past summers too.

This spring, I planted a couple of milkweed plants in my yard. Any caterpillars have yet to show up. When I was home in New Zealand in early May this year (late autumn in NZ) there were monarchs all over the parts of central Auckland I was spending most of my time in. A delight to see.

There are two "butterfly gardens" close to me here in Irvine: one at the San Joaquin Marsh and the second is at Mason Park. They have both been there for years and have milkweed and nectar plants. But I have hardly ever seen monarchs at either, let alone butterflies of any kind. The odd swallow tail; that's about it.

I did some googling about what's up with the monarch and they are apparently in severe decline in North America. The chief cause is loss of habitat, a.k.a. loss of wild milkweed and nectar plant in the environment. (Monarch Watch was a good site that I discovered, by the way:

Part of this is from expanding housing developments (which have slowed greatly since the housing bubble burst), but the main cause are "GMO" (genetically modified) crops, especially corn and soy bean. These crops allow the farmers to spray their corn and soy bean with "Roundup" - the Roundup kills the weeds but the GMO crops are able to survive the spray. (Bear in mind that we then feed these Roundup-sprayed crops to the animals we eat, or we eat these grains ourselves!).

Wild milkweed that the monarch needs to lay its eggs on, and the wildflowers that the butterflies need for nectar are included in the weeds that are "rounded up" with the Roundup.

Is the monarch butterfly to go the way of the dodo in N. America?

The Monarch Watch website has lots of good info for establishing "waystations" in your backyard and community. I just planted 48 seeds from my milkweed plant. Hopefully they will grow and some of my SoCal friends will be happy to take some of the plants to establish their own waystation in their backyards. Then we just have to hope a monarch or two will pass our way!

Let's do our part to help increase habitat available to the monarch butterfly, and let's hope it's not too late and we will actually see some monarchs in SoCal this summer and in the summers to come.
I would be interested to hear how things are in other parts of the United States and the world. Do you see many monarch butterflies in your area? Post a comment below.

No comments:

Visit my Store at Redbubble


Featured Post

Capturing Serenity: Dive into the Mystical World of the Pale Blue Iris

Welcome to my enchanted garden, where each petal tells a story and every bloom whispers secrets of serenity. I invite you to embark on a jou...

Most-Popular Posts in the Last 7 Days