Meadows = Butterflies

By Marlene Hardick, Wild Warner publicity chair

It is a 2012 project of Wild Warner to protect and improve the meadows in Warner Park.

Madison Parks has agreed not to mow the meadow near the sliding hill and near the dog park. This will allow wild flowers to mature and will attract more butterflies, as well as provide improved habitat for many species. Some WW members have begun to cut invasive species in the meadows so that the meadows do not revert to forests of buckthorn.  Wildflower reseeding may be done.
If you like butterflies, please join us in this project.

A couple of common butterflies in the park are:

Monarch Butterfly Migration - (c) Ventana Wildlife Society

Monarch Butterfly (Orange and black)
The Monarch is found throughout Wisconsin.
The Monarch has several broods in Wisconsin. The final brood migrates to Mexico. It is found from mid-May to late October in  Wisconsin. Nov 13, 2011 was the last reported sighting in Dane County this year.
Most Monarchs have landed in Mexico by October 31, in time to celebrate Day of the Dead. Fireworks on that day help to celebrate their return.  After flying for 60 days, they are tired and happy to settle in large colonies in their winter woods.

Local residents in desperate need of cash are cutting many of these woods for income. Forest fires have wiped out entire colonies of butterflies. The offspring of those who survive will return to Wisconsin next May.
Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Black with White and  Blue)
The Mourning Cloak is definitely a Wisconsinite and does not migrate. Depending on the weather, it may still be flying in late November. It then hibernates in cracks and crevices—under rocks, under bark of trees, in small holes.

In early March, it wakes up and flies around, delighting us once again.   It is usually seen alone, often in wooded areas.