Monarch Butterflies!!

I’ve always wanted to see the Monarch butterflies in one of their Mexican wintering sites.   Earlier this month, I got my chance to witness this fascinating phenomenon at the Sanctuary Piedra Herrada near Valle de Bravo in the State of Mexico.  Since the Monarchs can´t survive the cold U.S. winters, they migrate each year to either Mexico or California (depending on their location).

Monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains and in southern Canada migrate to oyamel fir trees in the Mexican States of Mexico and Michoacan beginning in early November.  To make this trip, they fly up to 3,000 miles! Towards the end of March, they make the return trip back to the United States.  Monarch butterflies that live west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to Pacific Grove, California where they winter in eucalyptus trees – a much easier trip.

Amazingly, Monarch butterflies fly to the very same trees each year when they migrate, which is incredible since they aren’t the same generation of butterflies from the year before.  This migration phenomenon can be dated back to ancient times, since sculptures and paintings of Monarch butterflies have been found in various Mexican archaeological sites.

Once we arrived at the sanctuary site, Charlie and I hiked up the mountain for about 45 minutes, joining other tourists and locals also eager to witness this amazing event.   After eating dust kicked up by horses on the trail, we got to the location where there were thousands and thousands of Monarch butterflies flying through the air, roosting on the fir trees, or feeding off the plants.  It was incredible!  The pictures hardly do it justice.


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