Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Vanishing Monarch

Each of the Monarchs were feeding in a different location
Everybody must have read by now that the population of monarch butterflies is very low this year.  There is probably been a decrease of almost 70% in the population of monarchs.  Normally, wandering through the fields, you could see 10 or more monarchs flying around.  This year, it was great to see even one.  The last monarch banding done at Allens Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary had only two monarchs.

We were out birding on Gooseberry Neck in Westport, Massachusetts, where usually there can be up to hundreds of monarchs flying around, the day we were there we we saw were about a dozen monarchs, all actively feeding on Goldenrod to fatten themselves up for their migration down to Mexico.

One of the reasons for the population decline is destruction of the monarchs host plant where they lay their eggs, the milkweed.  Removing natural habitats from the side of the road and converting farmlands into housing developments add to the decline of milkweeds.  If people would start including milkweeds in their natural garden, this could help stop the decrease of the monarch population.

Each of the Monarchs were feeding in a different location

Each of the Monarchs were feeding in a different location

Each of the Monarchs were feeding in a different location
 Two years ago at the same time we had as many Monarchs on one bush as I saw on this visit.