Monarch Butterflies Are Returning To California In Big Numbers For The Winter

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My grandpa used to call them “Flutterbys,” and we would sit outside his home in West Covina, California and just watch them as they flitted and floated by on the wind, defying gravity as they danced through the air.

I have a special love for Monarch butterflies, because they remind me of simpler times when we would take our crayons and colored pencils outside, and try to capture the essence of these gorgeous butterflies on the pages of our coloring journals.

Last year, there was a major decline in the number of Western monarch butterflies that were spotted in California — the winter home for these beautiful stained glass looking birds of the insect world.

Some were concerned about the dwindling numbers of the butterflies, and for good reason.

Last year, less than 300 western monarchs were counted in Pacific Grove, Pismo Beach, and Big Sur.

CBS News

But, this year brings a change. It is definitely a change for the better, as the Western monarch butterflies are showing up in all their splendid glory.

The Western monarch butterflies are back!!

As of November 12, at least 50,000 have been counted at overwinter sites, with more sites that have yet to be visited.

CBS News

Butterfly populations tend to fluctuate from year to year — based on the weather, available food, etc.

But, the last couple years have seen a rapid decline in butterflies “coming home” for the winter months.

It seems like we have just been in a crap storm the last couple of years, but there is one bright side to all this madness. The butterflies are back, and in big numbers!!

There is something about just seeing a butterfly flitting through the air — for one second, the world is a perfect and beautiful place, right?

Of course, in any situation, there are some Negative Nellies.

“If we were to count 50,000 butterflies this year, that would be about 25% of the count five years ago,” Xerces biologists write. “In other words, if this count came in a few years ago, we would be quite concerned with how low these early numbers are.”

CBS News

I choose to look at this year’s butterfly count as a positive thing. The numbers are up — way up — from the previous two years!! At least SOMETHING good has come from the two years that have been some of the hardest around for most people!!

If you live in California, take a minute to go outside and just see — if only for a minute — these captivating Western monarch butterflies. They are bound to truly make your day just a little bit brighter.

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