California is currently experiencing a massive butterfly boom

To say that California has been dry is probably an understatement. The state has been experiencing unusually arid, drought conditions for 7 years without pause.

But as of 2019, California has been declared drought free, and the added precipitation has created a wildflower boom and a butterfly boom to go with it.

The drought conditions have been in decline for a couple years now. A good rain and snowfall during winter of 2016 brought the amount of drought-affected land from 97% to 57%, almost cut in half. Today, only 7% of the state of California is experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions. Experts think that even those areas may still improve.

Much to the relief of residents of California and experts alike, all of the rain and snowfall across the state has refilled reservoirs, normalizing water levels, and the mountains even have snow again.

All of the rain has been good for nature too. Thanks to the rainfall, parts of the state are experiencing “super blooms” of wildflowers. These flowering events tend to happen once every 10 years, though this is California’s second in the last decade.

Along with this super bloom is a boom in the number of butterflies, specifically painted lady butterfly species inhabiting the state.

Painted lady butterflies have been in decline for a number of years, alongside many other types of butterflies. Seeing a boom in their numbers like this is encouraging. Experts say it’s been almost two decades since they’ve seen this many painted lady butterflies migrating. They’re currently migrating in the millions.

“The more plants, the more butterflies,” said Art Shapiro, an ecologist at UC Davis and state butterfly researcher. “So any year you have a real big bloom in the desert is potentially a big year for painted ladies.”

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