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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: March 13, 2019 09:50AM

Into the millions. It's the largest migration of butterflies to occur since 2005. The rains this year have helped to spur the increase of the butterfly population, and they're bursting in color all over southern California as they wind their way up north.

"The migration itself is nothing new. Painted Ladies set off from their wintering grounds in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of southeastern California as winter gives way to spring. They travel roughly the same path every year, flying northwest to Sacramento en route to Oregon, Washington and beyond. (They’ve been spotted as far north as Alaska.)

What’s unusual this year is the number of two- to three-inch butterflies making the journey. Scientists say there haven’t been this many Painted Ladies traversing the state since 2005, when the population climbed to about 1 billion.

“When they are scarce nobody notices them,” said Art Shapiro, an ecologist at UC Davis who has been tracking butterflies in the state for nearly 50 years. “When they are abundant, everyone notices.”

James Danoff-Burg, the conservation director at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, encountered a pack of butterflies while riding a bike through La Quinta last week.

“They were flying parallel to me, just bobbing along as I rode past the date palms,” he said. “It was absolutely magical. I felt like a Disney princess.”

The Painted Lady explosion is a welcome exception to California’s current butterfly crisis. The number of butterflies in the state has been in decline for decades, reaching historic lows in 2018, according to research conducted by Shapiro and others.

“It was a terrible — perhaps even catastrophic — butterfly year at all elevations and no, we don’t know why,” Shapiro wrote in a somber report....

Scientists say the reason for this year’s rebound can be summed up in one word: rain. And more specifically, rain in the desert.

“The more plants, the more butterflies,” Shapiro said. “So any year you have a real big bloom in the desert is potentially a big year for Painted Ladies.”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2019 09:09AM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: BeenThereDunnThatExMo ( )
Date: March 13, 2019 01:14PM

Thanks for this Amyjo...a heartening story for a change!

Sure wish the same could be said of our beloved Monarchs.

I'm so afraid that they will disappear in my lifetime.

I've visited properties over the past 20 years where oftentimes they were uncountable in the hundreds of thousands.

Now at the same properties over the past couple of years you can almost count them by hand.

All due to habitat decimation.

Mankind is a blight upon this gorgeous planet.

Or so it seems to me...

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: March 13, 2019 04:44PM

I love butterflies. They're a reminder of spring and like you say, what's right with the world.

Was surprised to read that their lifespan is only six weeks!

These Painted Ladies are really pretty. I'd love to see them flying in migration this time of year. It would be spell binding.


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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: March 13, 2019 10:14PM

Luckily they didn’t have to cross the Mexican border. There would have been another national emergency.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: March 14, 2019 09:19AM

LOL. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from the butterflies. They're not only free, they are borderless.


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Posted by: Elyse ( )
Date: March 16, 2019 01:57PM

So pretty.
Now there is a migration we can all get behind.

Some people believe that butterflies appearing are a sign sent from their departed loved ones on the Other Side.
"Hello From Heaven"

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Posted by: Dennis Moore nli ( )
Date: March 14, 2019 09:04AM

The butterflies are flying all over my town. It is so exciting to see them.

A bunch of the were flying across the 605 freeway yesterday, and all I could think of is "don't get hit by the cars and trucks!"


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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: March 14, 2019 09:15AM

What an extravaganza. I consider that to be truly a gift from the gods for all the weary Californians hit hard by natural disasters. Nature has a way of providing respite sometimes.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: March 14, 2019 10:07PM

Sadly, in some places it's impossible to drive without them splattering on your vehicle. I was scrubbing guts from my truck this afternoon.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: March 14, 2019 11:46PM

I would love to be able to see this!!

I'm obviously not on their migration route, though.

I have been doing much-needed maintenance outside lately (we are, at minimum, having a break in the rainstorms), and I've been looking for any sign of butterflies....but haven't seen a one.

I am glad they are in such numbers, because this is at least a little clue that some things may be improving.

Thank you, Amyjo!!

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: March 15, 2019 09:29AM

I'd love to see them too. You still might!

They're still migrating. They're known to go from southern California to as far north as Alaska.

I live near a butterfly conservatory that my children and I visited while they were still living at home. Maybe I'll go back for a visit just because they're so cheery. The last time we went the lilacs were in bloom, and it's near a lilac orchard.

I stuffed the car with lilacs, and covered them so we could get through border security without getting caught. The car smelled like lilac - and my children thought I was tipsy. I was, on lilacs lol.

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Posted by: Bradrdh ( )
Date: March 15, 2019 05:39AM

Saw literally thousands in and around Rancho Cucamonga today. Makes me almost believe in a higher power. Wonderful experience!

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: March 15, 2019 09:32AM

They really are awe inspiring. Butterflies remind me of a scripture from Corinthians 13;12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Butterflies have 12,000 eyes to see with! They go from a cocoon where they see nothing to bursting with color and being able to see in every direction.


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Posted by: doyle18 ( )
Date: March 17, 2019 12:25PM

I saw them all week in El Segundo where I work, with the largest group on Monday. Tried to get a video on my afternoon break, but it was hard with my cellphone even though it's still new.

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