The mourning cloak is Montana’s state butterfly and one of the first butterflies we see each year (as early as March). After overwintering as an adult, these hardy butterflies will find a mate, lay eggs, and die (usually by the end of June). As early as July we begin to see the next generation of mourning cloaks take wing. Rather than spending the summer actively feeding, these butterflies spend a lot of the summer resting in a protected spot (sort of like a summer “hibernation”). In late summer / early fall, they will become more active before their winter hibernation.
Photo by Glenn Marangelo on 3/22/20 in Missoula, MT.