Monarchs about to migrate through “1,000 miles of hell”
She will fly through parched prairies and fields all the way to Oyamel pine forests and hibernate through the winter. The future of the population rides on the wings of individuals like this one.
I ask you – What will become of this amazing species? The latest report from Monarch Watch is sobering. I hope you will click over and read it but I will also include an excerpt:
The migration is just beginning to navigate a 1000 miles of hell – a nearly flowerless/nectarless and waterless expanse of central KS, OK, TX, and NE MX….
It is too late for rains to change the situation in TX and northern MX. Monarchs will make it to the overwintering sites but their numbers will be significantly reduced by these conditions. My expectation is that that the overwintering numbers will be the lowest ever (previous low 1.92 hectares) and that the arriving butterflies will be in relatively poor shape with low fat reserves. If the average condition (mass) of the overwintering monarchs is lower than average, mortality during the winter could also be high. Other scenarios could include low returning numbers next spring with a reduced reproductive capacity due to low fat reserves. Keep your fingers crossed that there are no winter storms in MX that could make matters worse.
The fields at the Phillips Farm in Waterford are brimming with nectar-rich goldenrod right now. Nectar sources like these help our migrants build up fat reserves but will it be enough?
Will she and others of her kind find more rich fields along her travels before hitting the devastated lands of Texas and beyond?
In the last Habitat Herald, I wrote about “the slow ride of population decline.” In the case of Monarchs, it doesn’t feel so slow. But we have a choice – we can play a part in recovering a viable ecosystem. It won’t help the Monarchs or other species this year but the sooner we all start, the sooner improvement will come.
Every native plant you plant makes a difference.
Every journey starts with a single step, a single wing beat.