The Western Monarchs originally overwintered in the Monterey Pine forest of Pacific Grove, California. This had the perfect micro-climate....humidity, temperature and protection from wind. Drought, age and human destruction brought on the decline of these trees.
In the 1850s, Eucalyptus Trees were brought from Australia and abundantly planted for landscaping, windbreaks and fuel.
These trees turned out to be the perfect overwintering habitat for the Monarch Butterflies.....with the added benefit of providing nectar from winter blooms. (right)
On the central coast, Pacific Grove, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo are favorite overwintering areas for the Monarch Butterfly Migration California.
Besides these favorites, there are 200 sites along the coast from North of San Francisco to the Mexican border.
Pacific Grove is called Butterfly Town U.S.A. The Monarch Grove Sanctuary was set aside here using a special city tax.
In 1984, the Monarch Project was created to protect the overwintering sites through easements by landowners. In another effort to protect the sites, Californians passed a bond for $2 million to buy Monarch overwintering sites. The beautiful California Coast is very desirable for human development. This is a constant concern in protecting the survival of the Monarch Butterfly.
The Monarch Butterflies migrate to the Coast in October, as winter approaches in the colder climates.
They cluster for protection, like shingles (left), on Monterey Pine and Eucalyptus branches.
On calm, sunny days, they leave the branches to search for water and feed on the nectar of the Eucalyptus Tree.
In March, the roosts break up and the Monarchs mate (below).
The females disperse in different directions....searching for Milkweed.
The cycle begins again as the female lays eggs and new generations eventually lead to Fall and another...........Monarch Butterfly Migration California.
The photographs on this page were taken by friends of mine who witnessed this miraculous migration at Pismo Beach in 2007.