Two years ago we were fortunate enough to encounter the migration in Palo Pinto County Texas. We were not specifically looking for it, we were just exploring the area and drove into it. A river of butterflies, tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands. It was amazing, and also sad. We killed hundreds as we drove down the highway. We stopped to get a photo of the County Courthouse and there was a small garden that we full of Monarchs.
The Monarch Butterfly is the only insect that migrates. They cannot survive the cold winters in the North, so they migrate to Mexico and California for the winter. If you are lucky enough to live near their migration path you can see thousands, potentially even millions of them as they pass through.
They return to the same area, even the same trees, year after year. This is strange because the butterflies that return to Mexico this year are not the same individuals who left the year before. How do they know where to go?
While there are still millions of Monarchs traveling each year, the numbers are in sharp decline. The usual suspects are to blame. Pesticides and destruction of their habitat. Throughout the country, people are working to restore the flowers they feed on. Milkweed is particularly important as it is required for them to reproduce. If you plant milkweed along their migration path you can expect them to return year after year.