Monarch


When I first moved to the farm, in 2002, there were monarch butterflies everywhere. I deliberately kept a big stand of milkweed for them, hoping to attract more.

At the Phipps Conservatory, the other day [stderr] they had the butterfly room open. I love that, not because I like watching the beautiful sad things thrash their lives away, but because usually you can watch them inflating their wings as they emerge from the chrysalis.

At the Phipps

A few days ago I finished mowing the barrier-lawn (if you let the grass get tall up to the house, porchupines and stonks and every other manner of critter will come wander into the house) and I saw a monarch go fluttering by. It was the only one I’ve seen this year.

(mjr, ’17)

It’s not easy to get a shot of a butterfly on the wing with an iPhone – you’re running around after the darned thing, and it’s flying, and you’re trying to navigate using the slightly-delayed screen of your phone.

The next day I was telling my neighbor about it, and she mentioned she hasn’t seen any monarchs lately, either, “Except, the other day – I kid you not – I saw a blue one.” No way! She insisted that it was real, and that there were blue monarchs, and while we were talking about it – no lie – one came flying over and landed about 10 feet from us. My phone was in my car about 40 feet away and by the time I came running back over, it had left for safer pastures.

When I first moved up here, spring was a riot of little toads and frogs. The entire area would be hopping with them. Now, I can hear a few singing every spring but I don’t see them at all, anymore. The ecosystem around my house has changed, through the advent and departure of my dogs (who ate or barked at anything worth notice that came within 1/4 mile of the house) so some creatures are in the ascendant: deer, porchupines, skunks, and coyotes. Others are on the way out: monarch butterflies, the mated pair of North American Kites I used to watch hunting on the ridge-line over the hayfield – the crows are still there but they are suspicious of humans now (thanks, hunter assholes!) and the frogs are mostly gone. The snakes seem to be doing OK but I haven’t seen a rattler or a copperhead in a couple years; it’s mostly rat snakes.

This is pretty much right, I think:

 

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    I may have seen a monarch butterfly a few days ago: the first in three or four years, if that’s what it was.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    That is my favourite Humon comic.
    What the fuck is 9gag and why are they taking credit?

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    This is pretty much right, I think

    What’s “right”? Mocking weepy strawmen? A more appropriate comic would have a young person kicking an older one (like me, eg) while screaming “what the fuck were you thinking of?”. To top it all off, the cartoonist finishes their post with

    I’m actually not much of an environmentalist, but I couldn’t help myself when I got the idea after reading an article.

    Oh super. Another smartarse competing with xkcd for the glib/facile sound-bite audience.

  4. springa73 says

    My neighbor lets milkweed grow in her garden beds in hopes of attracting monarchs, but so far she has seen barely any monarch butterflies and none of the caterpillars.

    There are still plenty of bees around the flowers, but there are a lot fewer honeybees among them than there were just a few years ago.

    Around here one animal that has increased greatly in numbers is wild turkeys. I remember 20 years ago there were actually stories on the local news and in newspapers about the first wild turkeys showing up in eastern Massachusetts in 75 years. Now they seem almost as common as squirrels and rabbits!

  5. jrkrideau says

    I have not seen a monarch in years, well except for Her Majesty in Ottawa some time ago but I did hear a report a few weeks ago on CBC Radio saying that there are more Monarch Butterflies in Southern Ontario this year than in many years, presumably due to the weather.

    But we are still talking minor numbers compared to what I remember as a child walking home from school when we would see them by the hundreds. Part of my walk home was along a dirt road with pehaps 400 to 500 metres of milkweed in one stretch and the road had all of 3 or 4 cars a day.

    I’ve had 5 or 6 milkweed plants in the back yard and one of my neighbours has a rather magnificent patch but no monarchs over I moved here 5 years ago.

    I did notice some bubble bees, a couple of wasps and a snail yesterday. I live in the downtown core of a small city so I don’t expect a lot except for racoons and, perhaps, the occasional fox.

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