18 September . 2018
The Monarch butterflies are coming in October – here’s how you can help them
October is a prime month for enjoying beautiful Monarch butterflies as they migrate through the Austin area, which is located right in the middle of one of their main migratory flyways from Canada to Mexico.
The Texas portion of this flyway is a 300-mile wide path from Wichita Falls in the north, to Eagle Pass in the South. Fortunately for us, this path funnels right through the Austin area. These brilliant black and orange butterflies start entering Texas in late September, and by the third week of October, they have passed through into Mexico. So for Austin, the first half of October is a great time to enjoy this natural spectacle.
Recognizing its important location along the Monarch’s migratory route, Austin is one of more than 300 cities across the nation that have taken the Mayors' Monarch Pledge to help sustain this butterfly, whose population has been declining in recent years due to loss of habitat. Austin is in the Leadership Circle, meaning it has committed to taking at least eight of the 24 actions outlined in the pledge.
Residents living in communities such as Rancho Sienna can help by growing plants that provide food, water and places for monarchs to lay their eggs. Milkweed, whose leaves are the sole source of food for monarch caterpillars, is vitally important, along with flowering nectar plants that provide food sources for the adult butterflies.
Rancho Sienna’s Native Landscaping Guide has some easy tips for adding native plants such as milkweed to your yard. The good news is that when you go native, you also help conserve precious water, and you create a diverse and sustainable habitat that’s inviting and beneficial not only to Monarch butterflies, but to many other native species as well.
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