I’m always inspired by the marvels of nature and the magical journey of the Monarch Butterfly is nothing short of miraculous. Every year at around this time, millions of Monarch Butterflies migrate south from Canada and the northern parts of the United States to the highlands of the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico. Here, at an altitude of approximately 3000 km above sea level, they will take refuge in the Oyamel fir forests for the winter, where they will cluster together creating fairy-like trees of sleeping butterflies.
These are not normal Monarch Butterflies but are rather known as the “super generation”; they are bigger, stronger, and live up to 8 times longer than their parents allowing them to fly the 3500 km in a singular generation. Even though they may come from different parts of Canada and the US they all merge in Texas and travel the last portion together. What is even more fascinating, is that this super generation has never been to Mexico and yet instinctively they know where it is. After the winter, as the rays of sun start to warm their wings, what starts as a trickle ends as a cascade of orange as they start the journey back home. The journey north however can take up to 4 generations, each generation passing a genetic code onto the other. Recent studies have shown that these remarkable insects navigate these journeys with what can only be described as an internal compass that is linked to their antennae and their vision. They orientate themselves north or south based on the sun’s location on the horizon at any given time of the day and to do this they would need to know what time of the day it is!!!
So if you want to see something magical, follow the path of the Monarch Butterfly!