Fly inside a Monarch swarm in tiny drone disguised as a hummingbird

Days of Miracles and Wonder, part 3,293… 😳🚁🦋

Kottke writes,

For an upcoming episode of a show called Spy in the Wild, PBS’s Nature used a tiny drone disguised as a hummingbird to capture footage of a swarm of half a billion monarch butterflies as they overwinter in Mexico.

And of course I can’t let butterfly footage go by without gratuitously showing one of my favorite kid videos ever, captured of my then- (and now-) mysterious son Henry at age 2:


2 thoughts on “Fly inside a Monarch swarm in tiny drone disguised as a hummingbird

  1. This generation was the last of four, if memory serves, from the previous year. Born in the far north, USA, Canada maybe, they flew all the way back south, across the Gulf of Mexico to mountains there. Loggers cut the forests there some years back and the cold overnight temperatures killed billions of them. Tenacious, Mother Nature has enabled them to survive such a massive dieback.
    This generation takes the flight back north. Whether they breed here where they come out of hibernation, bred last year before coming south, or breed when they arrive in the southern U. S. is unknown to me.
    This generation lays one egg on a milkweed plant. I don’t know how many eggs they lay, but it is one per plant. Out of eggs, presumably, this generation dies.
    The egg hatches and the larva eat the milkweed, some special symbiosis of chemistry that, somehow, evolved. Then it goes into a pupa or chrysalis, to evolve into a Monarch. Hatching out this second generation flies north, breeding, I assume, somewhere, and repeats the egg-laying, dying off, the egg-hatching, larva stage, dining on milkweed, pupa, hatch as a third generation.
    A fourth generation repeats the process, perhaps the final one, having flown to the most northerly range, northern USA or southern Canada, and, in Autumn, begins the flight back to Mexico to hang in the trees in their millions.
    How does such complexity evolve? How does the milkweed symbiosis evolve?
    Mother Nature is a clever girl. And tenacious!

  2. Seems like it’s disturbing them, I’m not sure how I feel about drones being allowed to fly in. Seems like they did not like it there. 😕

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