Birds and Wildlife

Monarch butterfly project

This committee works for the preservation and public education of birds and/or wildlife on the island.  

This committee is currently chaired by Bonnie Brodman.

Presently we are working on The Monarch Butterfly Project which was established in 2016 with two goals in mind: to have sustainable breeding stations and to bring public awareness to the monarchs’ plight.  Breeding stations, informational flyers and a milkweed garden are a few of the committee’s initiatives.  Presently we have 12 mini breeding stations located with members and establishments and we have been releasing monarchs daily!  Our future projects include a butterfly and pollinator garden by the new pavilion in Barnegat Light, that will be planted in September.   We plan on holding a workshop in June where members will be able to plant their own pots to encourage butterfly breeding and be given instructions on how to raise the monarchs.  The recently completed Forsyth Nature Preserve at the entrance to our Island is a beautiful “Welcome to LBI” addition and we hope to add something to that wonderful environment as well.

The Birds and Wildlife Committee did a little research and found that butterfly decline is not limited to just LBI,  Monarch numbers have dropped ninety percent in the last twenty years and this black and orange beauty is now facing extinction. The reason? Pesticides, herbicides and loss of habitat.

It wasn’t that long ago that our members recall seeing thousand of Monarch butterflies stopping on Long Beach Island to feed and rest during their migration to Mexico. In recent years, however, their scarcity has been not only notable, but alarming.

Butterfly and Pollinator Garden – June 2020

Photos: JoAnne McKee

Butterfly and Pollinator Garden – September 2019
Barnegat Light Butterfly Garden.

The Butterfly Garden in Barnegat Light had its fall clean up.  Plants had grown so successfully that many needed to be transplanted to give them more space to grow. The garden has now been expanded. It was popular all summer, not just with monarchs, but with a wide variety of butterflies and bees.  It is a true pollinators garden

Photos: JoAnne McKee/Mary Stevens

Butterfly Host Plants for South Jersey

Unfortunately many nurseries and some big box stores sell invasives, however there are also nurseries that provide native plants. Four Ocean County nurseries providing native plants listed:
Cicconi Farms, 1005 Farmingdale Rd., Jackson, 732 363-1420
Hammett’s Landscaping & Garden Center, 425 U.S. Hwy 9, Forked River 609 971-0453
Hoch’s Landscaping & Garden Center, 229 S. Main St., Barnegat 609 361-4310
Rare Find Nursery, 957 Patterson Rd., Jackson 732 833-0613
and 4 in Atlantic County:
Atlantic Nursery, 3072 Cologne Ave., May’s Landing 609 965-2553
Earth First Native Nursery, Egg Harbor Township 609 287-5090
Galloway Nursery, 1121 Alice St., South Egg Harbor 609 965-2071
Summersweet Native Plants, Mays Landing (Open by appointment only. Call or e-mail Joseph at 609 287-0586

Hand-Raising Monarchs

A recent article published in the prestigious journal, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science”  is raising the alarm that some monarch butterflies raised in captivity are unable to orient themselves to fly in a southern direction and are therefore unable to successfully migrate. If they stay up north, they will not survive the winter.  If they mate, their offspring may not know how to migrate. The author of the article suspects that being raised inside prevents some necessary environmental cues to reach the caterpillar/chrysalis/ butterfly.  At this point, we don’t know what those cues are or if this problem is avoided by raising them outside.

In light of this new study, the birds and wildlife committee of the Garden Club of LBI is discouraging hand raising monarchs until further research sheds more light on the problem.  Instead, we will continue to encourage people to plant milkweed for Monarch caterpillars and nectar plants for Monarch butterflies.  We also urge people not to use herbicides or pesticides in their gardens.  If we can improve the habitat of the Monarchs, they should be able to recover.

Speaking of butterflies...

The life cycle of a Monarch as captured in photos by Pam Masturzo.  The last photo is a swallowtail.

Attracting Monarchs to your garden…

Here are just a few of the local plants that will draw adult Monarchs to your garden. Click on a picture to enlarge.