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Google's first doodle of 2016 celebrates mysterious mountain of butterflies

Technically Incorrect: Doodle honors discovery 41 years ago in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains by a group of Canadian zoologists.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Google's first doodle celebrates butterflies.

Google screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Google chose not to participate in the annual mountain of the nerds, known as CES.

Instead, it was preparing to celebrate the anniversary of something more profound: the discovery of the butterfly mountain.

On Saturday, Google released a mysterious doodle -- its first of 2016 -- which depicts orange and black butterflies.

Click on it, and you discover that January 9 is the 41st anniversary of the day when a group of Canadian zoologists came upon millions of migrating monarch butterflies in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains.

The Google Doodle blog explains that in 1975 thousands of volunteers participated in the search for these butterflies.

Two searchers, Ken Brugger and Catalina Trail, actually, um, trailed the tracks left by butterflies that had perished on the trek. On reaching the Sierra Madre mountains, the butterflies -- millions, perhaps even a billion of them -- clung to the oyamel trees to conserve heat.

Since then, it's been named the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and is more commonly known as the Mountain of Butterflies. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2008.

Between October and March, the butterflies hang out in these mountains, but only in a tiny area -- some 4.7 hectares of the whole reserve. The reserve itself is 56,000 hectares.

Locals, who call them harvest butterflies because they arrive at harvest time, say the sound of so many butterflies is "light rain."

Of course, their summer home is now threatened by increasing deforestation. Still, this doodle reminds one that the world is a very strange place and natural events can happen in very mysterious ways.