“After a ten-fold drop in the population of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last decade, a 2016 study predicted an 11%–57% probability that this population will go quasi-extinct over the next 20 years.” Wikipedia
Monarch butterflies used to be so plentiful. I would see them as a child living in the Midwest and study the way they emerge from their chrysalis in school. The Fall breeze was always full of milkweed seeds floating by. Their habitat was ubiquitous – all that open field land hosted several species of milkweed, the Butterfly Plant. When we moved to California where I went to High School, I would see Monarchs by the thousands at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz hanging in great clusters on the eucalyptus trees. Then I moved back to the Midwest and noticed how quickly all that open field land, the prairies, was being developed into shopping malls, parking lots and subdivisions. Here in Milwaukee, we had a Monarch Trail on the County Grounds where there was about 350 acres of open land. Then the city decided to put in a “research park” – meaning technical buildings and apartments – and reduced the Monarch habitat to 11 acres adjacent to the interstate that’s been under construction for 2 years…so far. Once a common insect, the Monarch Butterfly is becoming increasingly rare on the landscape. The life of this wonder includes the amazing feat of migration, which is also being threatened by climate change.
The age of Kings is just about over, as the modern world encroaches more and more on his kingdom. I found this one at George W. Mead State Wildlife Area during the weekend of Independence Day.
I wish you a long life and numerous progeny, Little Prince.
And I wish for many brothers and sisters. We have a butterfly bush, so I always hope for monarchs. I’ve let some milkweed grow as well, despite it wanting to spread to the lawn where I have to dig it up.
Thanks for letting the milkweed grow! Me, I could care less about lawns.
We’re in a rental house, so we have to care about it. But I do all I can to support butterflies, bees, etc.
Ah, me too. But I’m moving to a rental house owned by the Conservation Foundation I work for, and we’ve just done a prairie restoration around the house – 54 acres – so I’m thinking they might not mind if I let the lawn go in places and allow the prairie to encroach a bit….we’ll see!
That sounds amazing, Scilla. I bet it will look great.
This is so sad Scilla. I love Monarchs and used to see several during the summer. I hardly see them anymore. Last year I saw one. This year, none so far. I read somewhere that they are down 50% from last year. Can’t go too many more 50 per cents without going away. 😦
So far, we haven’t found a milkweed that will grow here, but some friends are working on that.
Peace and butterflies
It is sad. I wish your friends good outcomes with their planting project!
I have some in the yard too! It makes me happy as it’s been several years since they’ve laid eggs in my garden.
Oh good! I’m glad to hear they have found a good home!
I plant milkweed to lure them, and continually add to the plants each year. I’m hopeful that we’ll see many more than in the last few years. I’m in the Mid-Atlantic, and we will not see the caterpillars until autumn. Their presence is magical, but we haven’t seen many for the last decade. Thank you for telling their story. Each year I also do posts about them. It’s important to encourage people to plant milkweed, which is a host plant for them to go through their various stages.
Yes, that milkweed toxin that they gobble up as caterpillars keeps them protected from a host of predators…but doesn’t seem to ward off Humans, sadly.
There are so many species here in the UK that are becoming rarer and rarer and not just butterflies..
Oh and the move sounds great!
Yes, it’s happening all over the planet. 😦