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Red Admiral Butterflies Fluttering All About

Multitudes of hatchlings are brightening lawns and gardens.

If you're seeing an inordinate amount of butterflies around lately, you're right.

They are Red Admiral butterflies, although they at first glance do look like their more well-known cousins, the Monarch butterfly. And if you're seeing multitudes, it's because it's a birthday party.

Todd Klein, a volunteer at the Cape May Bird Observatory, said this is around the time that Red Admirals are hatching. There is some migration taking place, too, Klein said.

"But what you're likely seeing are the hatchlings from last year,'' he said. "It has just gotten warm enough that the eggs are hatching.''

The observatory tracks the movement of Monarch butterflies over time. Klein said often the Red Admiral gets confused with the Monarch because the two are similarly colored.

The sudden influx of the butterflies is called an "irruption." (Yes, it is really spelled that way.) It is a natural, cyclical population boom that causes an increase of butterflies every few years. And the unusually warm winter we had this year helped them to thrive, experts say.

A boom of this size has not been seen in 12 years, according to butterfly watchers.

Did you capture the butterflies with your camera? Add them to this story.

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