Monarchs: rough year

I subscribe to a Monarch Watch newsletter, and the news this week isn’t very good. This was a fairly low year for monarch butterflies, in terms of the population size. It wouldn’t be that bad, except that on their way to Mexico, they have to pass through the drought-stricken areas of Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. No water means no flowers, which means that the monarchs won’t be able to “tank up” on their way to their overwintering grounds in Mexico. This puts them at greater risk to not make it through the winter… and the Monarch Watch author, Chip Taylor, said:

My expectation is that that the overwintering numbers will be the lowest ever (previous low 1.92 hectares) and that the arriving butterflies will be in relatively poor shape with low fat reserves.

Full link to his blog with more details:

I was wondering what the numbers were like this year. I didn’t see any in my yard this year — we have nectaring plants and milkweeds, so we had lots of visitors like this one (and then caterpillars) last year.

As he states:

Keep your fingers crossed that there are no winter storms in MX that could make matters worse.

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