Thousands of beautiful Red Admiral butterflies have descended upon dandelion-covered fields in Ottawa, Canada, in a worrisome northern migration, weeks ahead of their normal schedule.
Butterfly experts believe that this Spring's unusually warm season-the warmest ever recorded in large parts of the United States and Canada-is to blame for the off-kilter migration. The Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta), which resembles a smaller version of the Monarch butterfly, can be found in more temperate climates across North America and Europe. The species usually migrate north in late-Spring. The current migration comes almost a month before the usual time of migration.
Edward Bruggink, a greenhouse manager at Ottawa's Carleton University, commented on the early migration: "It's a bit of a shock," Bruggink said. "Everything's out of whack. Things are not the way they should be at the moment." Experts are concerned that a cold snap, which will bring much-colder temperatures to the area along with snow and high winds this week, will endanger the delicate butterfly species.