Butterflies at a park in Cleveland on the weekend Butterflies at a park in Cleveland on the weekend. Carl Bachtel, WKYC-TV

‘I’ve never in my life seen anything like it’

Huge numbers of monarch butterflies stop for the night in Cleveland, Ohio

Monarch butterflies “in the thousands” were flying over Lake Erie on the weekend, later landing to overnight in Wendy Park in Cleveland, Ohio, in numbers that haven’t been seen in years.


“I’ve never in my life seen anything like this,” said one of many visitors who turned up at the park to witness the butterflies’ arrival.

Charles Hawker said he had never seen so many before in his life. “At the beginning of the summer, I saw two or three at different times in different places. Never, you know,  four or five thousand in a group.  Never.”

Millions of monarchs make the annual migration from Canada and the U.S. to the forests of Michoacán and the State of México, where they overwinter. The numbers have been in decline for several years, the result of loss of habitat in Mexico and milkweed, their main source of food, in the U.S., say experts.

The migration was up 69% last year, but the number was still the second-lowest in 21 years.

Source: KHQ (en)

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  • B.Murphy-Bridge

    What a beautiful thing.

  • Made possible by milkweed plants!

  • Douglas MacDowell

    It is a beautiful sight. As I understand it, it may take 4 – 5 generations for them to reach Canada but only one to make the trip to Mexico. Maybe going downhill (South) is easier. Also amazing is the raptor migration from Canada to Mexico each year. They pass over the Great Lakes in the thousands at approximately the same place as the butterflies on their way to Mexico.

  • Stacy Gittleman

    Don’t use Roundup! Plant more milkweed. We need some weeds (not that kind, well maybe….) but really, just plant more milkweed so our children’s children can enjoy having monarch butterflies in their life too.

  • MM

    That’s because we Michiganders and Ontarians have been helping them procreate.

    • DebraJean Sullivan

      And we thank you for all the efforts. Isn’t it nice when all it takes is to plant food for them – stop using pesticides and slow down road traffic when they are around highways! I live in Mexico and look forward to their visit here this winter.

  • Trina

    One should really go to Morelia -Angangaiou , MX (Feb-Mar) to see them in the pine trees, where they spend the winter. Hopefully in the millions again !