Saturday, September 13, 2014

Monarch Migration - A Species Under Siege

I am sure most of the farmers in my area would call our acreage unkempt and overgrown. Compared to the tidy rows of corn and soybeans that dominate the landscape, our property probably is a bit out of control. But I like it that way. By keeping it a bit wild and almost entirely organic, it has become an oasis for many wild creatures venturing north or south, depending on the season. The Monarch migration being one of them.

Migrating monarchs have little to do with sewing or sewing patterns, but this marvelous creature and this amazing feat of nature is close to being extinct so I thought I would share these images for those who have never witnessed this phenomenon. 

I don't usually think to run for my camera when I see something beautiful or awe inspiring. I just pause and look and drink in the beauty of the moment. This time was different. 

Our property has many trees with areas of grass in between, the perfect resting area for monarchs because it is sheltered from the winds. We have been observing the migration since we moved here almost 25 years ago.

Even 10 years ago, the migration was so grand that the branches of the trees would be completely covered with Monarchs. When you walked out into the grove where they were resting they would alight and the sky would transform into a massive cloud of fluttering orange and black wings. This year I could probably count the butterflies that hang on the trees. 

I wish them well on their journey and hope against hope their species will survive and once again thrive. Banning DDT has saved the Bald Eagles. Is it unreasonable to ban the genetically modified crops that are killing the Monarchs? Could these delicate winged creatures be the canary in the coal mine? Could they be warning us about the dangers of GMO's?


  1. Thank you for these photos. I hope we can help the Monarchs!

  2. What a beautiful thing you have shared, thank you.
    I wish I could view it before it no longer exists.
    Thank you for providing a resting place for them, that at least can be done.

    1. Thanks Judi,

      At one time this was all tall grass prairie with an abundance of buffalo and butterflies. Now it's thousands of square miles of corn and beans. The prairie is a small plot in the park and the buffalo and butterflies are in zoos while the pesticides that are genetically modified into the corn pollen cover everything. The really sad thing is that so much of that corn is grown to make ethanol to fuel our cars. It's not even benefiting starving people. Crazy.

  3. I'm starting to see some here in NZ, unfortunately so has my cat. Am really hoping they do survive, but unfortunately big business seems to be allowed to run roughshod over the rest of the world's inhabitants.

  4. So true and so sad.

    North American Monarchs eat milkweed which makes them noxious to eat which is one of their survival mechanisms. Perhaps your Monarchs are not so noxious if your cat can eat them without getting sick?

  5. What a lovely story, your pictures are spectacular! A another compelling argument against GMO's! I am so glad that your property is a safe haven for them to stop and rest before they move on (it sounds heavenly). I can only imagine the thrill of seeing so many in years past, and feel your pain to see their numbers dwindle. What a sad thing indeed. Thank you for sharing, Mary!