They’re Coming! It’s Coming!

Last week while winging my way home from Oregon, I read this article on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Facebook page. The article, from The Atlantic CityLab, by John Metcalfe, discusses a weird “cloud” moving southward into and through the mid-western states. Meteorologists realized that the “cloud” is actually swarms of migrating Monarchs. They’re coming! By the thousands and thousands, so it seems.  After the steep decline of the Monarch butterfly species in the past two decades, for this season at least, the numbers appear stronger than in recent years.  Not as strong as they should be, but better than they’ve been. I hope this might indicate that the population of this iconic and unofficially threatened North American butterfly, is on a rebound.  Considering the threats to their habitats and migration routes, time will tell whether this butterfly species will survive.

I’ve only seen a couple of Monarchs here in Austin, but am heartened by this news. Truly, truly heartened.  My garden is flush with blooms of all sorts, so I hope these lovely insects will stop by for a visit, a sip and a re-fuel as they make their way to Mexico.

I doubt this dude is waiting for Monarchs, but what could he be waiting for?

Maybe for Wildlife Wednesday and his chance to shine in the garden blogosphere? Wildlife Wednesday, which is this Wednesday, October 1, showcases the wild and wonderful critters in our gardens. On the first Wednesday of each month, garden bloggers are welcome to join with me in sharing photos and stories about wildlife in our gardens: the flighty, fluttery, creepy, and crawly who are essential to the purpose of a garden.

Be there or be square.  Wildlife Wednesday, this coming Wednesday, October 1.

10 thoughts on “They’re Coming! It’s Coming!

  1. I saw the same article and promptly went out to squash more of the recurrent yellow aphids that are plaguing my tropical milkweed. It looks like at least 4 of the 5 will bloom soon – they are at least budding! – so I am optimistic if any monarchs make their way to my spaces there will be a little something to encourage them along their way. Yay! Monarchs!!!


  2. Yay, indeed! I just squished aphids off of one of my milkweed–yuck! I’ve had the same problems with the buggies, but I think the monarchs don’t necessarily mind the aphids. Hope they’re coming!


  3. I love the idea of clouds of monarchs making their way to you. How exciting. They are beautiful butterflies. I wish they would find their way to the UK.
    Wildlife Wednesday sounds like a wonderful idea.


    • Me too! I hope those monarchs are indeed on their way and that their numbers have increase, not just for this year, but for coming seasons. I noticed that in one of the comments on the original article, the person reminds us that there is a biological paradigm that often, before catastrophic population decline, there is a temporary increase in that population. Time will tell. Wildlife Wednesday is fun–join in if you’d like!


      • Oh, I suppose it’ s the samething when trees bloom prolifically the year before they die. I hope this is not the case with your lovely butterflies.
        I would love to join in with your wildlife meme now and then when I see some interesting wildlife to write about.


      • I think it is the same idea–tremendous production before the end. It is apparently a common model in biological circles. Please do join Wildlife Wednesday with your wildlife photos and adventures! I’m sure you have birds and insects and all sorts of critters that we don’t normally get to see and experience.


  4. People really seemed willing to help by including more milkweeds and limiting pesticides in their gardens for the monarchs. Yay gardeners! This wil llikely be an unpopular notion but I kind of think the return to normal winter temperatures via the polar vortex may have contributed to balance things out, too. I heard someone say the other day that with environmental issues every win remains fragile but every loss is forever. I hope we can maintain some momentum and even (dare I dream) get agribusiness to make some overdue changes.


    • Yeah, that polar vortex thing through a bit of a wrench in the abnormal weather patterns of the last couple of decades. Obviously, I’m on board with doing what I can, though I don’t have much hope that the march toward extinction for many of (what have been considered common) birds, insects, etc., is going to stop. We are going to have to get used to a world without ice (as a University of Texas glaciologist said) and a world with significantly less biodiversity–at least in the short term. Another UT biologist stated something interesting: that in the immediate future (meaning, the next few hundred-to couple of thousands of years), things are going to get a bit tricky, but that in about ten thousand years, there will be some really interesting plants, insects and animals around.


  5. I saw that article, too, and wondered if it was true or another anomaly of some sort. I certainly saw plentiful Monarchs in my Midwestern garden this summer–at least one or two per day for a while, which is really something because my garden is quite shady. We saw many during our numerous hikes around the area, too. So, I do hope it’s a good sign–whether the radar cloud was from the Monarchs or something else. They sure have fans, and I try to remain optimistic that humans can accomplish great things (and correct their previous wrongs) when the work together on a common purpose. Keep us posted on the migration through your area.


    • I’m glad to hear that you’ve seen Monarchs. I’ve only seen a couple so far this fall. Like you, I remain hopeful that we can repair the damage we’ve done and I will definitely post about any Monarchs I see in the coming weeks.


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