The warm weather and high humidity at the end of August made for a splendid Monarch Butterfly Festival at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary located between Warren, PA and Jamestown, NY just off Route 62 (the Warren-Jamestown Road). The temperature increases the Monarch Butterfly's remarkable docility allowing young and old to play with these delightful creatures which migrate every year from here to the Gulf of Mexico.
Warren, PA butterfly expert (lepidopterist) Chuck Conaway shows youngster how easy it is to perch a Monarch on your wrist. Conaway told visitors that Moncarchs have no predators because they feed and grow on milkweed plants that are toxic to birds. As a result, the brilliant insects are not afraid of people. People seem to like them, too. The annual festival, held at the same time every year, was sponsored in part by United Refining Company of Warren, PA. Butterflies are free. Tagged Monarchs caught at the Audobon Center are released every year to add to scientific knowledge about these friendly creatures.
Scientist from Buffalo shows how easy it is to tag a Monarch. Recently the population of Monarchs has decreased about 70% due to modern agricultural methods. If you want more Monarchs around your home leave the milkweed plants in your fields when you do haying. According to Conaway, it may take a year for the butterflies to find them but they always do eventually.
Photos are COPYRIGHT 2013 by Allegheny Almanac. Photos by Chris Lareau. Please contact this website for permission to re-use. Thanks!