PLEIN AIR: Promising survey for a return of the monarch | Sports


I bought another butterfly bush and planted it next to my other “pollinators”. A small cluster of flowers grows near my patio, proving that my gardening habits are growing. I still have to look at the little tags on my plants to identify them, but I’m making progress.

Bee Balm, Black-Eyed Susans, Coneflowers, Catmint, and Butterfly Weed are the pollinators. Poison ivy is not my cultivated plant. I desperately need monarch butterflies, and there has been good news about their population.

In May, the World Wildlife Fund wrote about a recent survey that is great news for our iconic butterfly.

According to the most recent survey ( led by WWF-Mexico. This increase marks a sign of recovery, albeit fragile, and gives reason for hope in the context of several decades of decline for the emblematic species.

According to the survey “Forest area occupied by colonies of monarch butterflies in Mexico during the 2021-2022 wintering season”, the presence of the species in and around Mexico’s famous Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve has increased from 5.19 acres in December 2020 to 7.02 acres in December. 2021. As it is impossible to count every butterfly, the survey measures the forest area that monarchs occupy each winter in overwintering colonies, inside and outside the reserve, providing an indicator of the state of their population.

“The increase in monarch butterflies is good news and indicates that we must continue to work to maintain and strengthen conservation measures by Mexico, the United States and Canada,” said Jorge Rickards, director general of WWF- Mexico. “Monarchs are important pollinators, and their migratory journey helps promote greater diversity of flowering plants, which benefits other species in natural ecosystems and contributes to the production of food for human consumption. “

Although the eastern population of the monarch butterfly has fluctuated from year to year, its steady decline is concerning. During the winter of 1995-1996, overwintering monarchs covered nearly 45 acres of forest in Mexico. Since then, scientists have documented a general downward trend.

The main causes of this decline include:

• Milkweed depletion. Milkweed along the butterfly migration route in the United States is essential for the reproduction of the species. It is the only plant where these butterflies lay their eggs and the only food source for monarch caterpillars.

• Illegal connection. Even though illegal logging has declined over the years in the part of the reserve where most monarchs make their colonies, the practice has had detrimental effects, and there is still work to be done to ensure its forest continues to thrive. provide the right conditions for butterflies to overwinter.

• Climate crisis. Our warming planet is disrupting the migratory route of butterflies between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

To protect monarch butterfly wintering grounds in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, WWF is working with the Mexican government, local communities and other partners to promote scientific monitoring, sustainable forest management, l education on monarch butterfly migration, sustainable tourism and alternative income generation. -generating business. Among these projects are family-run mushroom production modules and community nurseries that help restore the forest in the reserve and create new sources of income for local communities living in the area.

Since 2003, WWF-Mexico has conducted monarch butterfly surveys in coordination with local communities and the collaboration of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas of Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the WWF Alliance Foundation- Telmex Telcel.

bird brain

I can’t drag my trash can 300 feet to the roadway in the dark. I would get lost and probably knock over the can, spitting trash everywhere. A trip to a Vermont side road would be impossible without a map or GPS. Lost in the fog while navigating in the middle of a lake would be worrying without a compass.

A hummingbird’s brain cannot be very large. After all, the bird weighs only 3 grams, or about 0.07 ounces. My current weight is 220 pounds, a few grams heavier than a bird that can fly to Central America without any modern aviation tools.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. A bird that can fit in the palm of a human’s hand can fly 1,300 miles nonstop – and humans have trouble walking around the block unaided. And if you’re wondering my brain size relative to body weight — or comparing it to a hummingbird — the bird tops me in every category.

If you think a 1,300 mile trip is a chore, consider that the ruby-throated hummingbird flies alone and usually at night. How can they do that?

Two weeks in July is a quiet time for songbirds. Most calls and songs have a purpose. Fighting for territory and attracting friends are the main reasons for tweets. After finding mates and raising young broods, most birds go silent.

Still, some sing, such as the red-eyed vireo or dusk thrushes, but many are silent. They haven’t migrated yet and you can still observe their behavior as they fly. However, the early morning songs disappeared.

At my feeder, I noticed fewer hummingbirds. Usually the males do dive-bombing, trying to get away from the sugar water. This season, that is not the case. There was no brutality. I often wonder how they can hit each other so hard without damaging their wings, those feathers they use to travel 1,300 miles.

I have an outbreak of rose-breasted cardinals this year. There were at least four different males that fed, devouring black oil sunflower seeds daily. They won’t migrate until the second week of August at the earliest, but given the way they gobble up seeds, they might fly sooner.

If you think hummingbirds have a long trip, grosbeaks fly all the way to Venezuela. It is an exceptionally long journey. I had to look at a map to see exactly where this South American country is. And these grosbeaks not only know when to take off, they don’t google South America to locate their destination.

So why do humans define a “bird-brained” person as a superficial, stupid individual?

Now you have my usual rant about birds and us, the higher life form. The woods are quiet, the birds haven’t left yet, and the juncos will return in early October, so count your birds and your blessings.

Chris Kenyon’s “Outdoors” appears in all other weekend editions. Contact Chris at (315) 879-1341 or


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