Mystery? How Are They Still Flying? It’s November 3rd!

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park

I’m in Georgia, my new home. Hundreds of miles north of Macon, Georgia, this butterfly is still flying around. It’s 66 degrees Fahrenheit here in Macon now, but just 54 degrees Fahrenheit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tonight is forecasted to go down as low as 44 degrees Fahrenheit up there in Pittsburgh. Next week may go down further, perhaps as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit in the Steel city.

Cold as that is, these Mourning Cloak butterflies continue to be seen, well into November. Imagine, they may endure nights as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit this month, and hours later, when the sun comes out and the air reaches 55 degrees, they can be seen flying, headed to their favorite nutrition, sap leaking from Maple tree trunks, and animal scat (feces AKA ‘poop’).

Know how they can be active in such cold weather, when Monarchs, Admirals, Viceroys, Crescents, Hairstreaks,Satyrs, Azures, Fritillaries, Painted & American Ladys, Swallowtails, Skippers, etc. have disappeared from sight, gone until the Spring?

(Mourning Cloak butterfly resting on Nichol Road trail, Raccoon Creek State Park, Hookstown, Pennsylvania, USA)

Jeff