Probably birds. Would be odd if it was hawks brought in to control
sea gulls finding the town’s symbol more tasty than gulls.
The butterflies are often found clinging to life — their abdomen removed with seemingly surgical precision.
“Their abdomen is just severed clean off, like you took it off with a scalpel,” says Stong, who is also the regional coordinator for the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count.
Connie Masotti, a docent at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, has also found several of the gutless butterflies. Based on their observations, Masotti suspects that the predation happens just before sunrise, since the butterflies are still alive when the docents get to their stations in the early morning.