Monarchs’ Miraculous Migration


Butterfly is one of my childhood’s wonder. I used to draw them nicely and win prizes in drawing competitions. Everyone in the school was in awe of my butterfly drawings. Though my teachers begged me to draw other things I never colored my drawing books other than gorgeous butterflies.

After soooooooooooooo many years of lost connection with this tiny wonder of nature, I’m struck by a butterfly today afternoon when it came fluttering over to me and rested on my shirt! Bingo and the light bulb lighted up in my head. So I’m drawing butterflies again and enjoying it just like I used to when I was a kid.

There’s more to it now as my perspective is driven by engineering. One species of butterfly named monarch beats every GPS device and possibly even Djikstra’s Shortest Path First algorithm. 

Monarch butterfly has many nick names — milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black veined brown. The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its annual southward late-summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico. During the fall migration, monarchs cover thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return north. The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains often migrates to sites in California but has been found in overwintering Mexican sites as well. This is perplexing as butterflies have a life-span of few months and how could they be remembering to migrate for nearly half a year?!

This PBS documentary reveals their incredible journey and I’m stunned by their supreme navigational skill and endurance.

About Deepak Devanand

Seeker of knowledge
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