An Extraordinary Event of Summer

The Source highlights the Deschutes Land Trust project Skyline Forest, as the location of an incredible boom of California Tortoiseshell butterflies in Central Oregon.
By Jim Anderson
The Source

 

Tortoiseshells and other butterflies are welcome visitors in Central Oregon

Oh, boy, are we having fun! Right now, during these warm first weeks of July, the California tortoiseshell butterfly, one of the more dashing of the nymphalids, is popping out by the hundreds of thousands—if not millions —in the foothills of the Cascades, known as the Skyline Forest.
A just emerged California tortoiseshell, Nymphalis californica. - JIM ANDERSON
A just emerged California tortoiseshell, Nymphalis californica. - JIM ANDERSON

This beautiful butterfly has been flitting around this part of Oregon for the last couple of years in such numbers that many who noticed them wondered where they came from and why so many were here.

Actually, we haven't figured out why they burst out in mass numbers in some years. I have a hunch it's one of the intricate mechanisms nature has given them that keeps their numbers going and protects them from extinction. The last time these beauties reproduced in such numbers around here was back in the mid-'80s. That was the first time I had ever seen such a phenomenon, and, to me, it was astounding... 

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