It may be the stunning appearance of the monarch butterflies that wins them admirers, but what makes them a species to marvel at, is their incredible ability to fly across a whole continent.
When fall starts, fluttering those striking hues of orange and black in the sky, on their oh-so-dainty wings, monarchs take up a challenging journey of about 3000 miles from as far north as Canada to an overwintering site down south, in Mexico. How do they navigate? Well, according to scientists, it’s the sun and the earth’s magnetic field.
In late February to early March, they make a journey back to the North again, this time the whole migration will be shared by generations. These butterflies fly several hundred miles north before laying eggs and dying. The next two generations proceed further north. The fourth generation starts the migratory cycle all over again! If this captures your imagination, discover more about monarchs in this breathtaking, and heartfelt documentary titled – “Flight Of The Butterflies“.
However, like almost every remarkable phenomenon in the natural world, we humans have managed to disturb this one too.
During their miraculous migratory journey, they have to make several stops. Unfortunately, those landscapes are owned by us, modified completely to suit our needs. Instead of meadows teeming with wildflowers and native plants, there are designer flowers and perfectly manicured lawns, instead of milkweeds (monarch’s primary food source and host plant to lay eggs) there are agricultural crops in industrialized farming settings, covered in poisonous chemicals and pesticides. Couple all this with climate change and the habitats and therefore chances to survive for these incredible butterflies are diminishing every day.
I had written this poem last year when the monarch butterfly entered the ever-increasing IUCN Red list of endangered species.
If you are a concerned environment/wildlife champion, activist, steward, educator, or you are involved in a sustainable business. Or, you simply love nature, for being part of the same nature, loving her could only be our innate response – in all these instances and more, you may be interested in this free, unique, and exclusive year 2023 calendar with all wildlife as well as environmental observances dates to be aware of.
Poem & Art ©2023 Gyaneshwari Dave