Have you ever heard the flapping of a butterfly’s wings? Have you heard the sound or seen a waterfall of brightly colored butterflies falling down and then swiftly rise up into the air with a few flaps of their velvet-like wings? Seen millions of them coloring the sky like an invisible paintbrush, sweeping through the air?
Sounds like the fairytale stuff only dreams are made of and yet, this wonder of nature does exist. It can be seen and heard every year in the winter in Reserva de la Biósfera Santuario Mariposa Monarca in Michoacán, Mexico. Around 140 million monarch butterflies migrate to this location every year, to spend the winter there, before returning to the USA and Canada. At the center of this gathering spot, there are so many butterflies that they cover entire trees, hanging in massive clusters from branches, covering barks like a fuzzy coat.
A group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope. pic.twitter.com/uDTipPBoqr
— Universal Curiosity (@UniverCurious) September 6, 2019
In the mornings, when they are rejuvenated by the early morning sun, butterflies forming part of the clusters hanging from the branches start to release their grip from the tree, falling down and then swiftly flapping away as soon as they are clear from the rest. After the first few butterflies have fallen away from the cluster, more and more follows to form a waterfall (as it is also actually called) of butterflies. Now you can hear the sound of the flapping of butterfly wings! The sound is that of water falling softly over a waterfall. In sound and motion, it truly resembles a waterfall, but one with a breathtaking burst of vibrant color.
Conservation educator and naturalist Phil Torres hiked up to 10 500 ft to this remote spot, to capture this amazingly spectacular event. Thanks to the effort of people like Phil we can also enjoy this wonder of nature and get a better perspective of our finely tuned echo system.