October 23, 2007

Texas Flyway, Monarch Migration, Raising Caterpillars and More

We are officially in the Texas Flyway (the path in Texas through which the stately Monarch butterfly makes its way to Mexico where it hibernates for the winter). Did you know that Monarchs migrate and hibernate? Amazing stuff!

Today we counted 54 Monarchs - 'King of the Butterflies' - around town when we made our way to art class. The cold front had them all hiding yesterday. The day before we saw only five and I was beginning to think that most of them were already close to the Mexico border. I was happy to see some of them today, but I sure hope they get to Mexico in time to beat the cold weather. They are so beautiful. Friday we counted 87 or so while we ran our errands for the culture fair. Thursday we counted 49 just in our neighborhood alone! They were flying high in the blue sky... one by one, drifting along with the breeze, orange wings glowing in the late afternoon sun.

You can't really tell from our pictures (silly butterflies just wouldn't be still... and they were so high up that it made taking photos really difficult!):




Tomorrow we will probably make a butterfly to send to a student in Mexico. They celebrate the return of the Monarch every year there where the butterflies overwinter. The deadline for sending a hand-made butterfly to Mexico with Journey North has past, but I'm sure I can find a friend who knows someone in Mexico that needs some encouragement. Journey North has an amazing program that does this each year - all while teaching kids about our friends in Canada and Mexico. The Monarchs won't get stopped at the border and asked for their passport. They are truly free. Be sure to bookmark Journey North next year and participate in the Monarch migration tracking and fun. You can also help them track the journey NORTH in Spring!

We have enjoyed our studies about butterflies and moths immensely. Not long ago, we caught a leopard moth caterpillar and are planning to raise it until next spring. We have been feeding the little guy desert willow and chaste tree leaves, but today (after our cold front that got into the 40's yesterday), he is sleeping. He hardly ate a thing all day. Here's a picture of our prickly friend:


A friend of ours brought us some web worms also. We played with them and set them free on a pecan tree. I need to take the kids out to go check on our wormies tomorrow. We didn't get a chance to go out today for a walk because we were busy with art class and school.

I hope you are enjoying the critters in your area. We love bugs in the 'Bee' family. In case you wondered... that is. We have a relative that is an entomologist. Maybe one day we can go see their 'collection' of interesting little creatures. I feel a field trip coming on!


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Melissa Stover said...

those are great! i love that. i think that's what kind of butterfly we were seeing here all over our lantana just a few days ago. of course now that it's 44 degrees....i guess they've all gone to texas.

Anonymous said...

I think we've seen a total of 10, all while driving. That's why we haven't been able to record any on the sheet. I'll go, "Look! a monarch!" The boys go, "Where?" It's like bad Laurel and Hardy shtick.

Amber said...

We did the "raise a butterfly" thing twice and they wanna do it again! So, I'm sure we will.

I just want to know you've been on my mind a lot lately. You are in my prayers:)

God Bless,

Sprittibee said...

chickadee... where are you at? Lantana is a big flower bed favorite here, too.

isaiah5513... most of the Monarchs we have seen are while driving, too. they are all flying over the roads heading sw-w. The kids have helped me spot them. We have updated Journey North each day when we are done counting. It only works when you have time to go outside, though! ;) Today we might go for a walk. Maybe we'll find a few then.

amber... our caterpillar is a moth, and he's hibernating already in october. is that normal? Poor thing. I keep worrying that he's dead, but then if I move him, he will slightly move on his own. Thanks for praying for us! :) Good to see you in here!

Mrs said...

Believe it or not, when we lived in the Palm Desert, CA area, the monarchs would come through there once in a while, too. I hated running over them!

Our friend in the auto detailing business loved them. :-)



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