Monarch butterflies are known to be one of the most beautiful insect species on the planet, but have you ever wondered how they sound? One single, delicate butterfly barely makes a peep, but en masse, their wings flap together to create an incredible sound. Phil Torres of The Jungle Diaries YouTube channel asks the question, “How many butterflies does it take to make a noise in the woods?” The answer is a few million, and he captures the entire phenomenon on camera.
Each winter, Monarch butterflies undergo mass migration, bringing millions of them to California and Mexico. Torres' fascinating video reveals how a particular swarm of butterflies in a Mexican forest have gathered into clusters on the trees, covering entire leaves, branches, and even along the trunks. As the sun hits them and warms them up, the kaleidoscope of butterflies suddenly start flying into the air at once. Torres calls this mass movement a “waterfall” and it certainly sounds like one—their wings flap together to produce a sound similar to falling water.
The Monarch butterfly is one of the few species who are actually increasing in population, having gone up 140% since last year. If you want to help protect this incredible insects, you can plant native milkweed and wildflowers—their preferred habitat.
Scroll down to watch and listen to Torres’ video below, and check out his YouTube channel for more nature-inspired footage.