Article: Raising monarchs to help them with their journey south: Great!

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Image Raising monarchs to help them with their journey south
By Lance Gardner on November 17, 2010

Near the end of this summer, my son and I decided to try a new venture and raise some monarch caterpillars we found around our yard. We had some fun successes and surprising failures, but overall it was a fun project. It was also perfect for our already filled menagerie as it was a temporary pet - the whole adventure lasted maybe two months, after which the butterflies ventured their way south and the supplies for raising them are put away until next year.

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ImageNEILMUIR1
Nov 16, 2010 10:34 PM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Lance, another great Article. Whilst working in Cornwall which is the south west tip of England or the south east to you, there suddenly was thousands of butterflies arrive that I had never seen before.
We are used to Red Admirals and Peacocks etc., and suddenly we were swamped with these. I contacted the Joint Nature Conservancy Council and they immediately sent some experts down, as I could not find these Butterflies in our British Butterfly books. They soon found out what they were, they were Monarchs! It seems that on their stunning migration the wind can blow a percentage totally of course and they land in England. This does not happen very often and does not affect the population as it is only a certain amount that get blown off course, the wind must be in a certain direction plus speed, and that is rare.
It was fascinating to see these exotic (to us), Butterflies and they did not seem to stay that long and they were gone again, as soon as the wind changed to westerly. Wonderful to make their Acquaintance though.
Your pictures are quite good as well.
Regards.
Neil.
ImageLance
Nov 17, 2010 7:07 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Thank you for reading the article, and the compliments. It was as certainly a fun project, both raising the monarchs and doing the article. I also enjoyed the opportunity to take lots of photos of fresh, new butterflies and their various stages. Maybe next year I will try some other types.
I am glad you got to see some monarchs up close and personal, as well, they are certainly striking.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
ImageNEILMUIR1
Nov 17, 2010 7:25 AM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Lance, I forgot to mention at the time we did not have internet or indeed anyway of getting it where I was. We had books on our Native species and those that do migrate here.
Monarchs were not included in them, although they are a stunning thing to see, we had no way of looking up what they were.
But our JNCC and the National History Museum http://www.nhm.ac.uk/
Soon found out what the wonderful things were!
Regards and keep up the good work over the pond.
Neil.
tropicbreeze
Nov 17, 2010 6:17 PM CST
It's interesting that the century before last Monarchs began to cross the Pacific Ocean. Whether they just went off course or it was a deliberate change in their usual path, they managed to make the crossing successfully. Probably a lot of 'island hopping' with successive generations helped. Now they've become an established part of the (southern) Australian fauna. And to make it even more interesting, apart from having spread over a lot of the southern part of the continent, they aren't migratory here. Their instinct for travel seems to have vanished.
ImageNEILMUIR1
Nov 18, 2010 12:07 AM CST
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
Dear Zig, that is most interesting to know. We do have quite a lot of Butterflies in the UK both endemic and migratory. if you want to see the best ones I go to the old second world war bomb sites as there is a lot of them, still untouched. Where people turn over the soil looking for treasures stinging nettles grow. A lot of the Butterflies like these and in fact live on them, so it is an ideal habitat for them. Basically the plants they need and relatively undisturbed. You get many species at these places, and they are a joy to see. However when all those Monarchs landed I was a bit taken aback as I had never seen them before. They are indeed a striking Butterfly, but so is a Red Admiral which is migratory and comes to us from Spain.
It was a pleasure to see them and I wish that then I had a camera with me.
Regards.
Neil.
ImageLance
Nov 18, 2010 8:15 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Monarchs in Australia, amazing! What do they eat there? I did not think milkweed lived in Australia.
I have many wild plant and critter ID books in the house, which I generally prefer to use vs. the computer. What a challenge when you are trying to find something that is not listed, though. I am glad you got it figured out.
I am thinking of doing bee homes in the spring, for native cavity nesting bees like the blue orchard mason bee. Another fun activity, and hopefully easy one.
Thanks to both of you for adding in your experiences.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes

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