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Migration, Migration, Migration!

Dragonflies, butterflies, and birds – oh my! As the summer comes to an end and the weather shifts, we are seeing a lot of migrants make their way across our Lake Erie. Most notably I have seen a lot of press about the dragonflies and Monarchs.

Dragonfly migration takes place every spring and summer. Like the Monarchs, the dragonfly migration is a multi-generational effort. The first generation fly north, lay eggs and die. The second generation (seen swarming throughout Cuyahoga County) fly south by September – some journey as far as 900 miles! The third generation spend their entire life cycle vacationing in the warmth before they lay eggs to continue the cycle. News 5 Cleveland reported these mass numbers of swarming dragonflies is attributed to available food source.

Monarch migration is also well underway! Stories of clumping Monarchs have already surfaced. I have seen them flying all over Cuyahoga County, but last week in Seven Hills I saw hundreds in a stormwater retention basin. One of my favorite places to watch them is at Whisky Island/Wendy Park. News 5 Cleveland reported about the most recent coverage. Here at Cuyahoga SWCD we are collecting Milkweed seed pods to continue to give these butterflies life and habitat. Milkweed is essential in the Monarch life cycle; without milkweed the Monarchs cannot survive.

My personal favorite flying migrants are birds. We are so fortunate to see the mass numbers of diverse migratory birds flying overhead. This September, I have seen pelicans, warblers, vireos and many more. As good stewards to our flying friends, small actions go a long way. From planting native plants and trees to turning off your lights at night during fall/spring migration – it all adds up. For example, we were seeing dead birds outside our office due to window strikes. We moved office plants away from windows and hung recycled CD’s in our front windows. Since we hung the CD’s, we have not found any dead birds.

If you want to watch the migrants in action, I encourage you to make your way to one of our local Metro Parks. Or take it a step further and plant native plants to foster habitat, maybe even become a volunteer for the Metro Parks or for Lights Out Cleveland. Attend one of our workshops, stream clean-ups, or tree plantings to learn more about what you can do at home and in your community to make a positive impact on our migratory friends.

Contact me with any questions or with your favorite migration story!

Blog Author: Megan Smith, Urban Technician

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