Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monarch Metamorphosis and Migration Miracles

While this is going on in my kitchen...

...this happened just three miles away.

We're smack in the middle of peak monarch migration through our area here in northwest Ohio. Several hundred of them stopped to rest and stay warm through the night at the home of Steve and Deb Plummer, near Latty, on Monday.

Normally, during the day, migrating monarchs are in the air en route to their wintering grounds in central Mexico and will travel 25-30 miles per day. But flight isn't particularly efficient or even possible when the temperatures are below a certain level. (Generally, 50°F.) Monday struggled to reach 58° here and coupled with the rain, these smart flyers decided to stay put.


Deb had contacted our local newspaper, the Paulding Progress, for which I write a weekly gardening column, to let them know about the visitors. My editor then contacted me to see if I could go snap a photo or two for this week's paper. I ran out the door.

We have seen overnight roosts here three times before (2003, 2007, and 2011), with two of those times being right here in our backyard at Our Little Acre. But we've never seen so many.  We're going to venture a guess at possibly as many as 500 monarchs were traveling in this caravan.

They're mostly silent, even with several testing the prospect of moving on. Once in awhile, we could hear the gently flutter of their wings. Romie remarked that seeing them draped on the trees like this reminded him of photos we've seen of them as they are in winter diapause in the oyamel fir forests of central Mexico.

It's a dream that I will likely never realize, to visit the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve near Angangueo, Mexico, during winter, to see them in all their miraculous glory. But you never know.


Lisa C. D. said...

Wow! I had never seen pictures of so many monarchs (apart from images at Tv). It´s beautiful!!

Beth at PlantPostings said...

That's absolutely stunning, Kylee! Thanks for sharing. I hope this and so many other reports will contribute to good increases in the overwintering population and steady gains after that. I would love to visit the overwintering sites in Mexico, too. :)

Lisa Wagner said...

Love to see this, Kylee!

Thanks for sharing.

1st Man said...

How lucky to see that in person. STUNNING! Thanks for sharing.

vbdb said...

Takes my breath away, Kylee. I saw one of their Pacific coast winter roosts and was moved to tears. But I'm a pushover when it comes to these guys.

www.ravenscourtgardens. com said...

What a wonderful treat! Your photos are great. When my son went to UC Santa Cruz he took a park near Santa Cruz where the Monarch's come each year and there were lots of trees just covered in them. At first I thought they were leaves. It was magical!

Amy Junod said...


Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ It's the most we've ever seen at one time too!

Beth ~ Maybe we'll both realize our dream one day!

Lisa ~ Pretty cool, huh?

1st Man ~ We feel pretty blessed by it!

Vicki ~ I nearly cried - from excitement, awe, thankfulness, and just because. I ADORE the monarchs and all that they do. Love. Them.

Laurin ~ It WAS magical! I didn't want to leave.

Amy ~ Aren't they?

Texas Rose said...

That is awe-inspiring!

Casa Mariposa said...

I thought people only saw masses of them in Mexico! How amazing that you get to experience the same event in Ohio!

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