web analytics

Categorized | Featured, Outdoors

Monarch butterflies a sure sign of summer 

A monarch butterfly on milkweed. Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

One of the state’s most distinctive signs of a new season is on its way—the brightly colored monarch butterfly. A well-known and beloved butterfly species in North America, monarchs, unfortunately, have become a much less common sight in recent decades.

The eastern monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent over the last 20 years, primarily from habitat loss, both in their summer range—including Michigan—and in Mexico, where they spend the winter.

“Adult monarch butterflies require a variety of flowering plants for nectar,” said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator with the DNR. “Grasslands provide a mix of plant species that pollinators, like the monarch, need – with both early- and late-blooming plants and those that flower mid-summer.”

Monarchs returning to Michigan will depend on these early-blooming plants to refuel and build up their energy, so they can lay eggs for the next generation.

Grasslands also support milkweeds, vital to the monarch’s reproductive cycle because they’re the only species of plants that monarch caterpillars eat. Milkweeds also provide food resources for other animals.

A backyard garden can provide important habitat for pollinators, too. As you plan for this year’s garden consider the tips at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/mi_pollinator_gardening_tips_615821_7.pdf. When you do start spotting monarchs, be sure to report those sightings because it helps inform conservation decisions here in Michigan. Report sightings and track their migration at Journed North http://www.learner.org/jnorth/.

Related, the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recently shared a new draft plan aimed at reversing the decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population and is welcoming public review and comment on it. See it at http://www.mafwa.org/.

Find out more about ways you can help monarchs in Michigan by visiting michigan.gov/monarchs or contacting Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678. 

This post was written by:

- who has written 14667 posts on Cedar Springs Post Newspaper.


Contact the author

Leave a Reply

*

code

advert
Advertising Rates Brochure
Kent Theatre
Ensley Team Five Star Realty
Cedar Car Co

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!