Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Monarch butterfly encounter

Just before heading out on a bike ride this afternoon, I noticed a Monarch butterfly on our front step, close to the house. It was sitting very still in the sunshine, probably seeking warmth. We watched it for awhile and it didn't move. Then, Mike picked it up and cupped it in his hands, and gently blew his warm breath over its wings. There was a hard freeze overnight and we thought it might be having a hard time recovering from the cold. We then brought the Monarch inside the house and placed it on a fleece sweater for warmth. We've been watching it ever since and it seems to have revived a bit more. This is our second close encounter with a Monarch butterfly. (I told about our first encounter in my Sept. 26 post.)
I looked up the life cycle of the Monarch on the internet and found a fascinating website with much information. I learned that each year there are four generations of butterflies. The first three generations live 2-6 weeks as an adult butterfly. The fourth generation, born in Sept/Oct, doesn't die in this time frame, but migrates south and lives 6-8 months in Mexico or southern California. After hibernating through the winter, they awaken and mate in Feb/March of the following spring and then lay their eggs. We hope this Monarch will survive the night and be ready to continue on its long journey tomorrow.

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