Migrating Monarchs stop at Brooklyn's best butterfly bush

Brooklyn Park Slope House with an attractive butterfly bush

Ok, I haven’t compared all of the borough’s butterfly bushes, but this one on 8th Avenue between 1st and Garfield Streets lately draws a crowd of monarchs and astounded people.

When I stopped Monday there were six butterflies and two other families, plus a woman passing by who said “there’s always like six butterflies hanging out there.”

Most of the year butterfly bushes are as desolate as hummingbird feeders. (Though I did see one of those in my yard last week, too.) Butterfly bushes usually feel like a scam, as if someone is selling eucalyptus trees, telling you koala bears will come.

But right now is the big monarch migration, so around New York City you might be able to see a gang of monarchs (Danaus plexippus), the only butterfly to make a long-distance roundtrip migration. Journey North, a teacher-coordinated migration site, tracks the butterflies journey along two major paths–to Mexico and California. Most monarchs east of the Mississippi go to Mexico, but the population that tracks the coast (the ones here in New York) go to Florida, where they either winter or jump off for a flight across the Gulf of Mexico.

Once citizen scientist even spotted an overnight roost with 200 monarchs at Robert Moses beach. And last week on Sept. 27 the group reported: “at least 800 Monarchs on the move. This is conservative as the tally includes a bit more than 700 in flight plus what were actually well over 100 on flowers (mainly on non-native flowers, it seemed).”
This week and last seem to be the best times to see monarchs around New York City.


pelicanpuffinhummingbird Where to SEE WEIRD BIRDS (All the interesting birds: pelicans, puffins, prairie chickens, vultures, hummingbirds)



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