Head To Texas Hill Country To See Record Numbers Of Monarch Butterflies This Spring
By: Adrienne Jordan
April 4, 2019
Rolling green hills that rise hundreds of feet above the surrounding plains and valleys describes the spectacular landscape of the Texas Hill Country. This central Texas region is expecting 300 million monarch butterflies to make a dramatic appearance this spring thanks to an above average amount of rainfall experienced this winter.
“Monarch numbers are usually measured in hectares, and the monarch population more than doubled from last year’s 2.48 hectare measurement, and is larger than it has been in over ten years,” says Sylvia Fallon, Director of Wildlife at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
According to Fallon, milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies, and luckily it’s in plentiful supply in central Texas. The resulting spectacular displays of the milkweed wildflower megablooms are attracting these record numbers of monarch butterflies during their migration from Mexico to Canada. “Population size experts are saying that the favorable weather conditions that hit every step of the way on the butterfly’s migration last year from spring, summer, fall, to winter ensured these record numbers,” says Fallon.
Because Monarch caterpillars depend on the brilliant milkweed flower as their sole food source, the butterfly numbers have been threatened in past decades due to the adoption of genetically engineered crops. This genetic engineering caused milkweed numbers to decline, and therefore, the monarch butterfly, which makes this seasonal rebounding an exciting time for nature lovers.
If you are heading to the Texas Hill Country to experience some of these monarch butterflies take flight, the Monarch Waystations list is your best bet as it includes safe places for the species’ migration: sites for nectar sources and milkweeds. For example, in New Braunfels, Texas, the Fischer Park Nature Education Center has fishing ponds and archeology digs, with milkweeds woven throughout the park. Another place to experience the butterflies would be the Old Fashion Garden at San Antonio Botanical Garden, which presents a spectacular display of milkweeds for visiting monarchs.