The Audubon Sanctuaries: Monarch Tagging!

September 16, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

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Sept 16 - 1Sept 16 - 1 Sept 16 - 2Sept 16 - 2 What a beautiful day for the monarch tagging project at the Audrey Carroll Sanctuary near Mt. Airy!  This popular family activity was in full swing by the time we arrived.

My sister Erica and her husband Fredi, who arrived late last night from Heidelberg, Germany, for a family wedding later this afternoon, came with me on the walk.  We found the monarch tagging station and listened to the demonstration on how to capture a butterfly, and then we grabbed a net and took off.

Sept 16 - 3Sept 16 - 3 Sept 16 - 4Sept 16 - 4 We walked to the location where I always see butterflies, and sure enough, as soon as we arrived, a monarch flew right to a thistle in front of us.  I used the "under the butterfly" technique and snagged it on my second try!

Erica took possession of the net and kept the butterfly loosely protected in the netting as we walked our way back to the tagging station.  Happily, we were the first ones to arrive with a monarch, and a large group of kids and adults watched as the butterfly was tagged.

Sept 16 - 5Sept 16 - 5 Sept 16 - 6Sept 16 - 6 Carol, the butterfly lady in charge, removed the monarch from the net.  She identified its sex (male) and showed us the little sticker.  It has a strong, waterproof adhesive.  She applied the sticker to the "mitten" shape on the monarch's wings, and recorded the data, including sticker number, date, "wild or raised," and sex.  She placed the butterfly in my sister's palm, where it rested for a moment and then flew free.

Later, hopefully in Mexico, the sticker on this butterfly will be read and recorded, indicating that this tagged monarch made it safely on its trip there.  The data is used to help study the migration paths of these beautiful butterflies.

Sept 16 - 7Sept 16 - 7 All it all, it was a great morning, and we're so glad we went!

To raise funds for hurricane relief, please consider purchasing a butterfly print from my Wings of Hope collection.

<Thanks for reading my blog entry, which is part of a personal photography project to bring attention to and to benefit the Audubon Sanctuaries in Central Maryland:  Fred Archibald Sanctuary in New Market, MD, and Audrey Carroll in Mt. Airy.  The sanctuary is owned and managed by the Audubon Society of Central Maryland.  Volunteers are always needed to help with sanctuary management.  Copyright 2017 Cam Miller.  All photographs are for sale upon request.>


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