Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monarch butterflies and their annual migrations


Was out driving on Taft Highway yesterday in western Kern County when I ran into swarms of the migrating (and quite lovely) Monarch butterflies. This is their annual migration up from Mexico and Kern County is swarming with them. Beautiful, certainly, but they sure can make a mess of your windshield and front grill of your car. Picked this up from a website (here's a good link if you are interested):

"Across the USA monarchs soar and glide in the warm sunshine from March through October (depending where they are born), but what happens in the fall when the brisk cold winds set in and winter looms in the air? Monarchs cannot survive cold winter temperatures of the northern states. So what does a monarch do to keep warm? It MIGRATES south and HIBERNATES! This means that it rests, with a very slow heart rate, just like bears in their hibernation caves. Monarchs east of the Rockies migrate 2500 miles to the Oyamel fir trees of Mexico. Monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to southern California to the eucalyptus trees of Pacific Grove and surrounding areas.

"The monarch's flight to Mexico has been compared to the migration habits of birds flying south for the winter. It is the only insect that can fly 2,500 miles to a warmer climate. Their unique wing structure and yearly life cycle makes it possible for the fall generation monarchs to travel thousands of miles (on those amazing little wings) to the warm nesting grounds of Mexico and southern California."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Were these monarchs? I see painted lady butterflies all over town -- they're much smaller and less dramatic than monarchs -- and the Californian even noted them on the front page March 20.

Anonymous said...

March 28,2009...

Today started out to be one warm and beautiful day. As I drove around town I noticed a huge number of Butterflies, Painted ladies no less.

I came home to sit in my front yard and watch them fly right over my head. Fast fluttering wings, showing that they came with a mission in mind. Never stopping to smell the flowers. Their destination was the only thing on their little minds..

What a site to see. As I and my Daughter Michelle watched them.We relaxed and took in their beauty and wondered where they might be going...Now we know to Oregon were told.

God Speed little ones...May you reach your destination and rejoice...
A wonderful experience to see and to end a perfect day~

Carol Smith~ of San Jose California

MaryAnn said...

How can you mention First Friday and not mention the horse drawn carriage rides? Families can bring their kids down and meet Sassy and Sally (some of the largest horses in the world!), and ride a nice relaxing antique carriage. See downtown from a slower relaxing view point. See things you don't see from a car !!!