Have you noticed all of the butterflies lately? I was driving down George Bush the other day and happened to look up and see these sweet little monarchs trying their hardest to fly against the wind. I was having a particularly frustrating day, and couldn't help but smile at how God has everything perfectly worked out, even for the butterflies. If He has a perfect plan for them, shouldn't I rest assured that He has one for me too?
Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost. A northward migration takes place in the spring. (In Australia, they make limited migrations in cooler areas, but the blue tiger butterfly is better known in Australia for its lengthy migration.) Female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations. By the end of October, the population east of the Rocky Mountains migrates to the sanctuaries of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican states of Michoacán and México. The western population overwinters in various sites in central coastal and southern California, United States, notably in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz.
The length of these journeys exceeds the normal lifespan of most monarchs, which is less than two months for butterflies born in early summer. The last generation of the summer enters into a non-reproductive phase known as diapause and may live seven months or more. During diapause, butterflies fly to one of many overwintering sites. The generation that overwinters generally does not reproduce until it leaves the overwintering site sometime in February and March. It is thought that the overwinter population of those east of the Rockies may reach as far north as Texas and Oklahoma during the spring migration. It is the second, third and fourth generations that return to their northern locations in the United States and Canada in the spring. How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research (GOD!!); the flight patterns appear to be inherited, based on a combination of circadian rhythm and the position of the sun in the sky.
Monarch butterflies are one of the few insects capable of making transatlantic crossings. They are becoming more common in Bermuda due to increased usage of milkweed as an ornamental plant in flower gardens. Monarch butterflies born in Bermuda remain year round due to the island's mild climate.
A few monarchs turn up in the far southwest of Great Britain in years when the wind conditions are right, and have been sighted as far east as Long Bennington. Monarchs can also be found in New Zealand. On the islands of Hawaii no migrations have been noted.
Monarch butterflies are poisonous or distasteful to birds because of milkweed poison stored by the caterpillar stage; their bright colors are warning colors. During hibernation monarch butterflies sometimes suffer losses because hungry birds pick through them looking for the butterflies with the least amount of the poison onboard, but in the process killing those that they reject.How awesome is that? Thank you God for your glory evident EVERYWHERE!! Even in butterflies. Even in me.