As meteorologists were monitoring the weather radar, they noticed something different about the clouds. A weird looking 70-mile arm was hovering over a good portion of Colorado. They assumed that the big clouds were just birds migrating. After some investigating, they realized that these colorful clouds were really butterflies. That’s right, a huge flying cloud of the beautiful insects.
The NWS Boulder took to Twitter in order to figure out what the swarms were. In a tweet, they posted the radar video along with the text “Look at what’s flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds Any bird experts know what kind? #ornithology”
Overnight, followers of NWS Boulder identified the mysterious bird breed. Since the cloud’s migration was going in an interesting direction, they identify the swarm to be butterflies. The flying insects were traveling with the wind and were heading towards a new state.
NWS stated in their tweet that insects never show up on the radar. Typically, the clouds are migrating birds. A lot of northwestern radar stations will occasionally pick up a butterfly, but this is the first for Denver.
Since the company posted the radar video, people of Colorado have been posting photos and videos of the butterflies. In the photos, you can see the painted lady butterflies swarming around plants. After their pit stop in Colorado, it’s assumed that they will be heading back to California.
The large number of butterflies may be due to a series of recently planted plants. Mary Ann Colley who works with the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado stated to KUSA “We’ve been plating the right types of plants, and with the fantastic weather we’ve been having, it’s the right combination of success for these butterflies.”
It must be stunning in Colorado seeing all these beautiful creatures!
Sarah is a Hufflepuff living in NYC. When she is not traveling or talking to random animals, she is working as a script writer. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp