Monarchs face challenges and population declines on all fronts, with most causes anthropogenic: loss of habitat, saturation of pesticides, destruction of life-giving milkweed and nectar plants.
These diaphanous beings on both sides of the Rockies miraculously survive the hazards of migration, flying thousands of miles to places they’ve never seen, along mountain ridges they’ve never traveled, upon winter winds they’ve never known.
The western Monarchs find their way to our California groves by the sun, by the magnetism, or by a combination of aviation instincts. Some arrive with holes in their wings, and tears in their chitinous membranes, testament to their unfathomable durability.
Monarchs migrate just once in a short lifetime, leaving a navigational and generational stamp on their offspring, who then repeat the cycle in autumn, also just once, carrying on as Monarchs have throughout Monarch time.