Back in 1935 Utah’s spring migration of Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) was described as filling the air with a windstorm of butterflies, “the effect resembling an autumn day when the wind is whirling the leave about in great confusion.” There weren’t quite that many this spring, but there were still a lot of painted ladies.
An unusually wet winter in Mexico and Southern California caused a superbloom that in turn sent a migration of orange and black Painted Ladies fluttering across the Western United States.
Painted Lady caterpillars like to eat thistles and dandelions. The butterflies are pollinators that feed on nectar. There is likely to be a second wave of butterflies in June or July once eggs laid by the migrating butterflies hatch.