Decline of the Monarch Butterfly Population
In recent years there has been a very significant decline in the monarch butterfly population. The monarch population in the eastern part of the United States have decline by 90% while the western population of monarch butterflies have declined by 99%.
In July 2022 due to the declining population of the migratory monarch butterfly, it
has now been designated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
There are many reasons for this decline in the monarch butterfly population such
as habitat loss with less milkweed plants being planted in gardens, along sides of
roads or in medians. Climate change and the use of pesticides are other factors that
have played a role in the decline of the monarch butterfly population.
In the summer of 2021, I created a butterfly garden in my backyard to specifically
help with the declining population of monarch butterflies. I wanted to help play a
part in helping monarch butterflies as well as all other butterflies survive and increase the butterfly population. Thus, I began my conservation photography project of which I call The Butterfly Oasis Habitat Project. This butterfly project was created to provide shelter, water, food (milkweed especially) and a habitat in my backyard butterfly garden to help provide a breeding and migration habitat for Monarch butterflies as well other butterflies and pollinators.
I planted a variety of host plants for the Monarchs and for Black Swallowtail
butterflies as well as a variety of nectar plants. In the very first year of the garden, I had over a dozen Monarch caterpillars and over two dozen Black Swallowtail caterpillars.
In addition, I had plenty of fluttering visitors to my backyard butterfly oasis habitat
such as the Monarch, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White and a large variety of skippers. My backyard butterfly garden is home to bee pollinators as well.
In Spring 2022, I expanded my backyard butterfly garden so that I can add many more milkweed plants as well as other host plants and nectar plants for other butterflies. I created a puddling station, put up a butterfly and bee house, and added more nectar plants to my backyard butterfly garden. In addition, my backyard butterfly garden has been Certified as a Monarch Butterfly Garden and Certified as a Butterfly Garden by the North American Butterfly Association. Also, I received certification as a Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch.
During the Spring, I took a course on how to collect monarch data as well as on the monarch biology and its conservation. This course was given via Zoom with the
Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. This year will be the first year that I have become a citizen science data collector for my Monarchs in my Butterfly Oasis Habitat Garden. I collect and enter this data with the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project.
Even though my Butterfly Oasis Habitat Project mainly focuses on the Monarchs, I also want to help preserve and conserve all butterfly visitors to my backyard butterfly habitat. This year I have seen a few different variety of butterflies in my garden so far including the red streaked hairstreak butterfly and the Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly.
Images From The Butterfly Oasis Habitat Project
Lori’s Related Blog Posts and Articles on Butterflies and Caterpillars:
Pathways to Pollinator Corridors which was renamed and published on Wild Virginia Blog as The Decline of Pollinators From Habitat Loss and Pesticides (10/06/22
International Monarch Monitoring Blitz! (07/28/22)
Planting Milkweed for Earth Day (4/22/22)
Save the Monarchs for Earth Day (04/08/22)
Black Swallowtail Caterpillars in the Fall (10/22/21)
Backyard Butterfly Garden Tips (8/31/21)
Ways to Protect the Monarch Butterfly (7/8/21)
Copyright © 2022 Lori A Cash Conservation Photography, LLC