Sunday, December 11, 2011


The last Monarch hatched from the egg laid on the Milkweed at Waystation #613

It pumped the body fluid into its wings

I released the last Monarch on my front porch flower. I hope it makes it to Mexico!
Well, the "Monarch Season" is over, a special season of the year I nicknamed. My last Monarch egg hatched and I released it (Above photos) It's marked around Monarch Waystation #613 (My yard) by empty chrysalis shells, wilted milkweed leaves lying on the floor of the Monarch rearing cage, and recollections of the entertainment my Monarch afforded me. I've always been fascinated by the orange and black coloration of the Monarch butterfly Since my childhood days in the Rocky River, Westlake, Bay Village and Avon suburbs of Cleveland. Back then, literally millions of Monarchs would migrate through the vast meadow lands in these suburbs. Now, endless strip malls and pavement replaces the natural landscape I was knew, with a new manscape.

The sections of my grassy yard I turned into wildlife-friendly spaces stemmed from this depressing transformation of natural areas to manscapes. My tiny microcosm of a natural landscape was fun! I collected eggs of the Common and Swamp milkweed planted in my side and backyard, watched them hatch in 3 days, marvel at how the Monarch caterpillars ate the remaining egg shell they came from, observe their tremendous increase in size until transforming into a beautiful Luna-moth green chrysalis with gold dots, then, coming out of a complete metamorphis as a orange and black. Egg, larva, pupa and adult.

I see them now flitter through my yard, stopping to nectar on the ripening Sedum and other fall flowers planted. They no longer tarry as they used to, searching for a tender leaf to lay an egg underneath. Now, they seem to be on a mission and gravitate to the southwest when they leave Monarch Waystation# 613. The Monarch migration through my small yard marks the decrease in daylight and temperature. I band them, hoping that one will be identified 2,800 miles away on a forested hilltop somewhere in Mexico. So far, I haven't gotten such feedback, which would be thrilling. Some of the other local Monarch enthusiasts, like Tom Kashmer of the Green Creek Wildlife Society, have had their tagged Monarchs spotted in Mexico. Amazing how they fly in a huge mass migration to the exact same trees thousand of miles to the southwest, in Mexico. Does the Monarch think it's a whale or migratory bird, instead of a fragile, seemingly vulnerable and helpless...butterfly?

I encourage everyone, even those who don't have a registered Monarch Waystation, to plant in their residential yards butterfly-attracting plants such as milkweed, asters, yarrow, goldenrod, sedum, butterfly bush, lilac, phlox, zinnias, marigolds and petunias...the Monarch butterfly will thank you.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S believes urban sprawl can be offset by creating wildlife-friendly spaces in America's 25,000,000 lawns, one yard at a time! Click HERE to learn why. A portion of Ad sale revenues will be donated to Monarch Watch. Do you have a wildlife-friendly space? Please share it! Contact us on the secure Bpath Mail Form.