You may have noticed some recent butterfly activity this month. The guys over at the Oklahoma Mesonet have the inside scoop below.
For Royalty: Look Down Last Week, Look Up This Week
You may have noticed the increasing presence of Monarch butterflies
over the past few days. This is no accident, for two reasons:
1. Early October is the peak autumn migration time through this
part of the country. Monarchs are programmed to get out of colder
climes and into Mexico and California during the weeks surrounding
the autumnal equinox.
2. These kings and queens of the butterfly world are also programmed
to use wind currents to their advantage. And that’s where we get
During southerly wind regimes (like the one that brought us warm
weather last week), they abandon long-distance travel and flutter
about near the ground, collecting vital fuel from nature’s dwindling
food supplies. Think about it: on what kind of fall day do you picture
butterflies in the garden? Pleasant-to-warm days, right? These are
usually associated with southerly winds.
With this week’s coming cold air invasion, winds will shift to a
northerly flow. The monarchs will soar upon the currents, using very
little precious energy while the atmosphere does all the work.
So, after the cold front passes, look upward instead of downward.
Chances are that you’ll eventually see at least one squadron of the
Lepidopteran Royal Air Force at cruising altitude.