A few years back I ran a website called capemayX.com that explored and discovered neat things to do around Cape May with the family. It's was a ton of fun finding interesting details and stories that normally I might never have paid attention to(since I'm a local). Case in point: the Monarch Butterfly Migration. So this blog post is from that CapeMayx site — I hope you enjoy the article and video interview.
(text picked up as it appeared from the original capemayX article)
A few weeks back, during an early morning coffee and rap session with Don Merwin in his photographic studio, I asked Don about a photo (in his store) of a strange looking tree with a bark texture I'd never seen before. Don told me to look closer and I saw the bark was in fact a mosaic of thousands of Monarch butterflies in a group huddle...
...The huddle helped them stay warm from the prior night's cold front that had just blown into town. It was an amazing moment-in-time-record of another one of mother nature's recurring miracles. Fortunately for Cape May residents and visitors alike, that miracle funnels directly through the beaches, shorelines and goldenrod beds of Cape May Point and surrounding areas. I tracked down more details online and decided it would make for an interesting capemayX.com story short.
My inquiries led me to world renown butterfly expert Louise Zemaitis who invited me to meet her at Cape My Point where she was tagging and weighing the latest group of Butterflies heading south for the winter. The fact that I met her at a specific street address because that's where the Monarchs knew dinner was served, only added to the natural wonders mystery of how these delicate but durable creatures navigate their multi-thousand mile journey each year with only their DNA roadmap to guide them.
This simple interview runs 10 minutes and presents interesting perspectives from an expert. Plus you get to see live how they tag the fluttery guys, and also what their little green chrysalis homes looks like (they're normally quite hard to spot). Share the video clip with your kids and if they take an interest, follow-up with a visit to the Bird Observatory or Nature Center. Because after all, the future of these little winged gliders, and all important environmental issues, depends on the awareness, commitment and activism of our next generation of people pupa as they embark on their own miracle journeys through this world. So get 'em plugged in now. Plus, this is just a great way to spend quality family time during your Cape May vacation. You're outdoors. You can learn a ton. And it's fun.
We hope to do a follow-up on the roosting, where the Monarchs cover Pine or Cedar trees. This happens when the next major cold front moves through Cape May and signals the last rallying cry before the critters make their next push southbound.
"Lord I'm Southbound, and I'm coming home to you."
~ Southbound from The Allman Brothers,
Official Monarch Butterflies theme song