Monday, September 05, 2011

Monarchs released today

At the beginning of summer, I was beginning to think that we might not see too many monarchs, that it could really be the beginning of the end of the migration phenomenon.

Though monarchs do face many challenges--lack of milkweed, pesticides, degradation of their overwintering sites among others--at least here in Central New York, we managed to find enough eggs in our yard that we're ending up with 200 monarchs!

So far, we've released 155, with 45 still in their chrysalises. Unfortunately, it has rained all day and it's cool, too, so there today's "crop" of 15 monarchs still sit, just where I put them many hours ago.  Monarchs can't do much unless it's at least 60F, but even if it were warmer I suspect the rain would keep them from leaving.

I released them this morning just outside our back door, so they're protected somewhat by being under the eaves. This side of the house doesn't get the northern or western winds either, so I think they'll do fine. I'd be more than happy to keep them inside, but once they've hung around a few hours and their wings are dry, they're eager to leave.

They're just in time for the fall migration, since monarchs leave CNY about mid-September. All our monarchs should have eclosed (i.e. emerged from their chrysalis) by then. They're likely to encounter some challenges on their way to Mexico, especially the drought in Texas that will limit the availability of nectar. And then if and when they get to Mexico, their overwintering habitat is gradually being destroyed by illegal logging and by climate change.

For more info on my monarchs, visit Our Habitat Garden website.

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