Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monarch Butterfly Migration Route: Cape May County

Migrating butterfly at the Scarborough
The Monarch Butterfly Migration Route passes right through Cape May County and it's not surprising to find these tiny travelers in the Scarborough Inn gardens.  Though seemingly-fragile, these creatures actually travel thousands of miles to reach their winter quarters in Mexico.

Monarchs are recognizable for the striking orange and black pattern on their wings. They eat milkweed and this tends to make them foul-tasting to potential predators. Some people try to attract these insects by planting "butterfly gardens" and the Inn's garden contains some plants they favor; that may explain why they visit.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has a monarch butterfly tagging program.  Small stickers are placed on the wing of a butterfly to help scientists study migration patterns and numbers.

If you visit the Scarborough Inn in late August through September or October, be on the lookout for the Monarch Butterfly Migration - it is truly amazing!

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