Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: September 9, 2005
Today’s Update Includes
From the Migration Trail
Hurricane Season and Fall Migration
With each changing season, both the wonderful and the grim affects of nature are called to our attention. Right now, the whole world is spellbound as we witness the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Nature’s impassionate hand has forced millions from their homes and killed an unknown number of innocent victims in the Gulf Coast region.
Every year the peak of hurricane season occurs in late August and early September and coincides with fall migration. Hurricanes are among the hazards wild animals may face as they migrate. This week: an uplifting story of survival and a glimpse at how hurricanes can affect animals as they migrate.
Tagged Monarch Tells a Surprising Story
Don Davis has been tagging monarch butterflies in Canada since 1968. He has tagged tens of thousands of butterflies, but last week he encountered a monarch with perhaps the most surprising story of them all. He found a monarch that already had a tag and, according to the number on the tag, the monarch was from Ohio! Why would a monarch butterfly come north during fall migration?
A Closer Look at Wind and Monarch Migration
The drive to migrate is strong. In Iowa last week, Royce Bitzer watched how wind affects monarchs as they fly. Unless they stayed close to the ground, it carried many in the wrong direction. During a 13-18 mph southeast wind he observed "quite a few monarchs were being forced westward if they got more than 6 to 8 feet above the ground. But the ones that stayed low were making their way south-southwest to southwest."
How Strong is the Wind Today? Beaufort Scale Observations
You can learn how to read the speed of the wind by watching its effects. How strong is the wind when leaves rustle, trees toss, or dust flies? Learn about Beaufort scale:
Challenge Question #2: How Many Butterflies in a Piece of Paper?
It's hard for us to imagine the importance of wind in the daily life of a butterfly. We're so heavy that only the most powerful winds on the planet could carry us away. A butterfly, however, weighs about as much as a scrap of paper its size. Consider this:
How to Report Your Observations
Put your monarch news on the map! Please send reports of monarchs flying, feeding, and resting. When you report your observations, include wind speed and direction.
The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on September 16, 2005.
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