I received the email this week. The docents are pulling up stakes, putting away binoculars, tucking away signs. The Western monarchs are almost gone. Their spring migration has begun.
The clusters were smaller this year, and many hung in neighboring yards rather than their usual eucalyptus in the sanctuary itself. It has been a dismal year. This season’s peak was 7,350 – a 57% drop from last year. Heartbreaking. The reasons for their continued decline are a compound of many both natural and manmade. It’s too sad to consider that one day “Butterfly Town U.S.A.” will need to rename itself.
As of last weekend, only 400 monarchs were at the sanctuary. But those butterflies who remain pay no mind to their missing companions. They are enjoying these early days of spring. They join the honey bees among the pink blossoms of the cherry tree. They pair off to chase and mate and rest. And soon, like the others, they too will take to the sky.