Butterfly Counters Miffed at S.F. Museum

Matthew B. Stannard, The San Francisco Chronicle
October 4, 2008

Liam O’Brien was sitting down for dinner Sept. 27 when he flipped on the television news to see a flock of monarch butterflies delighting the opening day crowds at the California Academy of Sciences – and just about choked on his meal. Where the happy crowds saw a colorful display of natural wonder, O’Brien saw a flock of alien invaders – just a few flaps away from the grove of eucalyptus trees where he volunteers each year to count the local population of monarchs as part of a statewide monitoring program. “To release … butterflies so close to a roost completely compromises the season,” O’Brien said. “I cannot walk into the Botanical Garden and say those are not from the back of some woman’s car.”

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