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Monarchs on the move
The annual northern migration of Monarch Butterflies is in progress. It is one of nature's amazing migrations. Every year fall and spring, the Monarch Butterflies travel between their summer home and their winter home. The butterflies that left Mexico to come north to Canada will not actually reach Canada. Their children will continue the journey north. The butterflies that started the journey north this year are not the butterflies that started the journey south last fall. The butterflies that make it to Canada will not be the ones that start the journey south next fall. Generations of Monarch Butterflies have continued this cycle for countless years. 
Each butterfly is just a part of the migration. It is the species as a whole that migrates and each individual butterfly just plays a small part in the cycle.

It is an incredible sight. In the fall before they leave the monarchs start to gather. Then one day they go. They are not a hive animal like bees. They do not live in groups with a leader like ants. They still participate in a collective behavior that has allowed the species to survive. Birds do it too, but the same bird completes the journey a number of times in its life. Birds also gather in flocks and travel together.  Monarchs are different.

Right now they are as far north as Texas. The milkweed they need is just coming up.
I have checked my garden and no sign of milkweed. It will be there by the time the Monarchs arrive. 
It is an amazing cycle of life. Every year I feel privileged to witness part of the cycle. I know the Monarchs won't be here for awhile, but I am already excited about it. I have been witnessing this all my life and it never gets old.
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There are new monarchs emerging and the old generation is dying out. Soon there will be a movement north as the milkweed starts growing.

So far no milkweed showing in my garden, but it is early. It will be ready by the time the butterflies are here.
With so little happening for me during this pandemic year I am taking the time to be aware of the monarchs on the move. This is a good thing. 
I am always excited when they arrive. I enjoy having them here. I watch for them to leave in the fall. Then I wait until they arrive to be excited about them again. This year I am aware of the journey they make and where they are. I am aware that the old ones who are close to dying  are laying the eggs that will 
make the rest of the journey. If it were not for those older butterflies coming part way north to lay eggs, no butterflies would make it to my garden.  I owe them for  the wonderful experience of monarchs in my garden. So thank-you to those butterflies who give us the gift of a new generation. It is appreciated.
[Image: IMG_9091.JPG]


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