Monarch Butterflies Fill Tulsa Woman's Backyard


Thursday, October 14th 2010, 4:07 pm
By: News On 6


By Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Back in August, News On 6 reporter Rick Wells and Photojournalist Todd Ruffin stopped by a home in Brookside that had been officially designated a Monarch butterfly way station.

8/10/2010 Related Story: Meet Brookside Neighborhood's 'Butterfly Lady' 

There weren't many butterflies then, but its migration season for monarchs right now, so hoping for better luck, they went back for another visit.

The home belongs to Clara Nipper, a court clerk in Tulsa County. Her yard is full of all kinds of critters, bees and butterflies.

Her neighbors, Bill Brock and Sheila Naifeh, also came along to be a part of any butterfly sightings.

"There's a monarch," Nipper said while outside in her backyard.

Monarchs love the yellow milkweed flowers. They lay their eggs on the leaves; the leaves will serve as food for the young caterpillars. Generations of butterflies will return to the same area, even the same plants.

This is migration time for monarchs heading south for the winter.

"The ones that are migrating now are on their way to Mexico," she said. "They'll winter down there, and then they'll come back north to lay their eggs and second generation and so on."

Clara also had tithonia flowers in her yard, called Mexican Sunflowers.

While News On 6 reporter Rick Wells was talking to Clara, he couldn't help but notice her hat.

"It looks Asian, but it's really African," she said.  "Burkina Faso, from Africa."

It is a hand woven straw hat with leather trim.

She apologized for the condition of her garden, but she said there was a good reason for it.

"The wilder the yard is the more wildlife feels safe," she said.

Clara told Rick the website that got her started on all this is Tulsaaudubon.org.