Monarchs are migrating right now and this skittish individual took flight after investigating a zinnia planted at the West Plains Community Garden on Lincoln Street. Some flowers are lingering and warm weather has been keeping blooms fresh. The monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles from central Mexico, where they spend the winter, through the United States and as far as southern Canada, putting Missouri in the middle of their flight path. Unfortunately, the numbers of monarchs have declined steadily since the mid-1990s, likely due to reduction in habitat and food sources, plus increased use of pesticides and herbicides that can kill them, according to the organization Missourians For Monarchs. In spring the butterflies pass through Missouri again, laying eggs on milkweed plants, which are native to Missouri, for the resulting hatched butterflies to eat. Monarch Watch, a national organization dedicated to the preservation of the species, operates the Monarch Waystation program, in which citizen volunteers can create a habitat for the butterflies by planting milkweeds. According to the organization, there are two Monarch Waystations in West Plains: one at the Girl Scout Hut on Aid Avenue, and another on private property. Learn more about the effort at monarchwatch.org.