Golf Courses are major Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Sites

Mark Walker mwalker at
Tue Jun 16 16:36:19 EDT 1998

Chuck Vaughn wrote:

>I guess this a tradeoff. When I was kid in the mid 1960's I lived in
>San Lorenzo just a few hundred feet away from what is now the back part
>of Sky West Golf Course. At that time it was a large open field and
>it was harvested for hay (I guess) once a year in the early spring. A
>few of us collected butterflies and one friend's house backed up to the
>field. We'd frequently go out there as there were lots of butterflies.
>Milkweed grew there and I found Monarch caterpillars all summer. To
>this day I don't know what kind of Milkweed grew there. It was a thin
>leaf, low growing variety.

I wonder if the old breeding habitat didn't trigger the generation of a new
overwintering spot?

Just think, the whole thing could represent the population growth of a few
of the Monarchs you left behind 30 years ago (and maybe a few of their
friends).  When the impacted ancestors emerged, they didn't find as much
milkweed as they enjoyed in their youth (O.K., so I'm humanizing them just a
little bit), but they found some great places to hang out.

In actuality, it's probably more analogous to the urbanization of Canada
Geese.  No need to migrate so far when there's plenty of great overwintering
habitat in the newly developed city.

I know there's a point in here somewhere, if I could just find it...

Mark Walker
Castleton, VT

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