It’s that time of the year again as monarch butterflies are clustered at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove.
From October through March, monarch butterflies escaping freezing temperatures can be found in this coastal grove. The season peaks from November through January, when butterfly counts are the highest.
In the week of Nov. 7, the butterfly counts have reached 12,000, a big improvement from the past few years. Although the chilly weather keeps the butterflies high in the trees, straining your neck is a small price to pay to witness these huge clusters while they’re here.
Through clustering, the butterflies are able to protect each other from the wind and rain. This adaptation allows the butterflies to conserve energy and survive until the spring.
These butterflies are not only elegant and eye-catching, but they are essential pollinators and are an indication of a healthy ecosystem. The alarming decrease in population since the 1980s is a result of pesticide use, loss of food sources and climate change.
The sanctuary provides protection and the ideal environment for these butterflies to take shelter.
Visit the sanctuary at 250 Ridge Road, Pacific Grove CA 93950 for free to view the monarch butterflies until spring.
When visiting the sanctuary make sure to follow the viewing etiquette:
- Stay on designated paths.
- Do not bring dogs or other pets in the Sanctuary.
- Do not touch, chase, or in any way stress the butterflies.
- Keep your voices down.
- No food or smoking is permitted within the Sanctuary.