The N.Y. Times reports that the number of Monarch butterflies at their central-Mexico winter home is down about 59 percent – the lowest since record-keeping began almost 20 years ago. There are now only one-fifteenth as many as there were in 1997.
All the Monarch butterflies in the world spend winters in a fir forest in the mountains of central Mexico – in the state of Michoacan. They come from all over Mexico, U.S. and Canada, driven by an inherited urge; it is almost impossible for a specific butterfly to be in the forests of Michoacán for two successive years since they have such a short life span. Their migration is purely genetic.
They cluster together by the thousands. The area covered by the butterflies is measured each year. This past winter the "butterfly zone” covered 2.93 acres. That’s down from the previous winter’s 7.14 acres, and the high (in 1996-7) of 44 acres (18.19 hectares in metric). This is the third straight year of declines – the lowest since records began being kept in 1993-4.
Just last week we were fortunate enough to see a wild turkey in our yard;
strolling casually down the boardwalk through a natural area. Have you seen anything interesting lately?