Massive, unpredictable swarm visits Crater Lake—hikers completely caught off guard.

September 5, 2017 7:47 pm Last Updated: September 5, 2017 7:47 pm

Hikers at Crater Lake, Oregon, suddenly and inexplicably found themselves in the middle of a a fluttering swarm of—butterflies?

Thousands of these gorgeous butterflies fill the air every year, swarming in droves as they migrate, but no one—not even scientists—knows where they will end up next.

Swarms of these butterflies migrate every year to beautiful places like Crater Lake, Oregon, where local hikers found them last month.

(Photo by pogo_mn/CC BY Pxby)

But Oregon isn’t the only recipient of Mother Nature’s butterfly blessings. 

This species has been studied for many years in an attempt to explain their massive collective migration habits, but to date, nobody really knows why the phenomenon occurs.

Nymphalis californica, or better known as the California Tortoiseshell butterfly, migrate throughout western California and the southwestern areas of Canada as well. They have also been known to travel to the Great Lakes area.

(Photo by Walter Siegmund, CC BY)

The butterflies live in the wooded mountain slopes and foothills and lay their eggs in clusters on different species of wild lilac plants.

(Photo by CC Pxby)

Their breeding ground can vary from season to season but often occurs in the high Sierras or the Cascade Mountain range. With this butterfly, one just never knows where or how many will appear—it’s part of the draw and the buzz created every year about the flying little works of art.

(Photo by CC Pxby)

The Nymphalis californica has similar markings as the Monarch butterfly, and one is often mistaken for the another. They are however two different species.
It was these butterflies captured on video at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon in August 2017.

It is a true sight to behold, and a wonderful reminder that surprises of nature aren’t always tragedies in the form of earthquakes, tsunamis, or tornadoes. Sometimes, we are given a butterfly or two, or a thousand!