For the past few weeks, dozens of turkey vultures have been circling on thermals over my house in Oregon, preparing to soar away south into California. Not long ago, I saw a late monarch butterfly passing high overhead, its orange wings incandescent against the blue sky.

These are examples of the great migratory movements that enliven the West every spring and fall.

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Pepper Trail is a contributor to Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, an independent nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. He is a conservation biologist and writer in Ashland.

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