Monday, August 18, 2008

Flutter Byes

Every fall, a magical event takes place in the animal world. Perhaps traveling over your own head right now--or clustered by the hundreds in a nearby tree--the annual monarch butterfly migration to Mexico is underway. By instinct alone, the butterflies go to the same mountains that their ancestors left the previous spring. Somehow, they find a place in Mexico that they've never seen before.

The butterflies are born knowing everything they need to survive, so we look on with wonder . . .

-- Journey North: Monarch Butterfly

A few years ago I subscribed to two newsletter events (best description my tired brain can conjure tonight) that I now look forward to each year. They are a part of Journey North, a teaching tool that I can attest is not only exciting for teachers and students involved in the projects. Through this organization you can track the monarch butterfly migration each fall and spring as the butterflies travel to and from Mexico. Additionally, online participants can report their own observations of migrating butterflies to a migration map at the website.

It's almost time to follow the Monarch Butterfly migration south along with countless classrooms across the country, and I am anxious for the journey. This is a part of the welcome posted for new participants at Journey North: Monarch Butterfly --

Welcome and Orientation
Beginning August 28th, weekly FALL MIGRATION UPDATES will be posted here every Thursday, from September to November. (Schedule given at website.) Get ready to track the migration to Mexico. Find out how to report your sightings and track the migration on real-time migration maps.

In my next post I'll describe the other event that sets my imagination soaring.

Beginning Monday and for an unknown number of days our old house built in 1917 (we call it Housie) will be getting all new energy-efficient windows. I'm not a morning person, but I have to be the next few days as the installers will be here early. The project is welcome chaos for me, and I'm not polling the cats and dogs for their opinion.
This may affect my blogging schedule, but I'm hoping not by much.

~ ~ ~
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
~ Li Po

Photos: paid subscription


Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hi Lydia - in response to the anthem that was mispronounced i think it was along the lines of: he was supposed to sing "Your Mountains are so huge" and accidentally sang "Your erections are so huge" or something like that.

Interesting thing about the butterflies - perhaps they're trying to start a twister?? (sorry, bad joke) - very interesting article :)

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

Thanks for putting this on my radar.....I've heard of these happenings around my area.....I would die if I saw that many butterflies in the top photo! Boy would that be amazing :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

follow the link for the original article:

I won't write here what he actually sang by mistake...

Arnold Layne said...

What a great post. I noticed numerous butterflies were at the beach the other day, and having already known of their long journey to Mexico, gazed in wonder and admiration. I can't believe they do it.

francessa said...

Lydia, this is amazing!

I've never heard of traveling butterflies! Wish I could see them! We have only those big black rooks traveling from White Russia, Russia and the Ukraine thousands of miles to Central Europe and staying here from October to March, about 200 000 of them.

I'll follow the butterflies' trail, thanks for the link!

rachael said...

My science teacher talked about this in class today!
I love the picture you've included in this post - experiencing a butterfly migration in person must be the most awesome experience.

ps - I had left you a comment back on the post about the national anthems, but I just checked and I don't think it ever went through. I received the earrings a few days ago and they're so cute! I loved the packaging you chose, too. Thank you so much!
Have a great week,


YogaforCynics said...

Very cool--I remember seeing huge numbers of monarchs near the Jersey shore (or was it the Jersey shore? Maybe it was Florida...or possible North Carolina...never mind) when I was a kid, but never thought to actually seek out the migration (or that there'd be a web site that would help me do so--then, guess there's a website for just about every purpose under heaven these days, isn't there?).

Thanks also for the Li Po quote--always great to be reminded of the great drunken Zen monk (especially in conjunction with butterflies).

Honour said...

So neat, this link you provided us. (sorry, talking backwards, yoda-like, after having watched it again this weekend).

I studied zoology and my "finale" project was "migration". I loved it. (I studied three populations: caribou, the turtles, and something else ... oh yes - the wildebeest!) Then, I watched a lovely IMAX film on the topic a couple of years ago. They show the butterflies - miraculous migration is. Miraculous.

Lydia said...

Funny about the twister.:)
I received an error message when I tried the link; bummer! I'll hunt around later and see if I can find it. Thanks!

Wouldn't it, though? I only see single butterflies in our yard each summer. Just the other day I watered the patio (it was 105 outside) and one Monarch came immediately to puddle. But how do they know it's time to go, and where do they meet up? Simply amazing!

See, you're in the east and that's why you guys must see "numerous" butterflies. Actually, I saw numerous ones in Idaho one summer, but never close to home. I thought about your blog when I was selecting quotes, as I saw the one about the butterfly effect...

Now, there you go telling me something I never knew: big black rooks from areas around Russia! I must Google them to see a picture. I'll be following the Monarchs along with you!

What are the odds of that? Well, it's really not that surprising given what a truly awesome (in every sense of the word) thing it is that they do.
I'm sorry that your other comment didn't come through:( - but really glad that you like the earrings!

Again, it seems that those of you on the east coast are the ones who are fortunate enough to help track the migration, while the rest of the country (and other parts of the world: see Francessa's comment) wait eagerly for reports. I'm happy you appreciated Li Po's take on all this...

Not surprised, am I, that you did a thesis on migration. Caribou and turtles and wildebeast, oh my! o, that would be from a different movie, it would...:)

johno said...

hey just found you, loved the butterflies.. thanks!

Lydia said...

I appreciate your appreciation for the butterflies! Thanks for being here.



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