Poppies

Overwintering Monarchs Return to Ardenwood

Wednesday, Dec 28, 2022

Monarchs are back at the farm! About 500 monarchs have been spotted in the eucalyptus trees, the first clusters seen at the farm in three years. Ardenwood is one of over 500 sites along the west coast of California where monarchs gather for the winter, coming from as far away as Washington, Idaho and Oregon, where they're unable to survive the cold winter temperatures. Besides this incredibly long journey, another amazing part of their story is that none of them have ever been here before! In fact, since monarchs typically live only a few weeks, the butterflies that are here now are the great, great grandchildren of the generation that overwintered in California last year.

Look for the monarchs in the eucalyptus grove near Deer Park along the train tracks. On cool days they hang motionless high in the trees and can easily be mistaken for a clump of dead leaves. Add some sunshine, though, and the clump transforms into a bright orange fluttering mass as they open their wings to soak up the warmth. When the monarchs are warm enough to fly, they head out to search for nectar from nearby flowers.

Visitors are welcome to view the monarchs on their own, and staff will be available at the grove or in the farmyard to help you locate them. If you do come to visit, please watch for monarchs on the ground that are too cold to fly, and remember that collecting or handling the monarchs is prohibited.

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Monarchs at Ardenwood Farm