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      Michigan's monarch butterfly population declines

      Habitat loss and an especially harsh winter are proving to be a destructive combination for Michigan's monarch butterflies.

      The Detroit Free Press reports (http://on.freep.com/1pq1aBi ) the butterflies are laying eggs later and in lower numbers this year than Michigan has seen in the past.

      Monarchs only lay eggs on the wild milkweed plant. Michigan's expansion of corn farming has reduced milkweed growth in recent years.

      The West Michigan Butterfly Association president says people who want to help should plant milkweed at home to compensate for plants lost to agriculture and development.

      The monarch is one of a few migratory butterflies. It travels up to 4,000 miles to Mexico every fall. The butterflies that return to Michigan are the offspring of monarchs that lay eggs in Texas and Oklahoma before dying off.