Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tracking the Monarch's Journey North

Monarch butterfly courtesy of Rodney Campbell/Creative Commons.
How do we know it's spring in the Midwest? For some, it's the first bud on a lilac or the return of migrating songbirds, for others, it's the return of monarch butterflies from Mexico.

Monarch butterflies have been on the the move north since early March and entered into Texas about a month ago. While each spring migration is different in terms of where overwintering monarchs decide to lay their first eggs for the summer season and where that first generation is successful, there is a general trend that happens each year and monarch enthusiasts pay close attention.

You can check out the latest in spring sightings at Journey North, where citizen scientists from across North America have been cataloging their sightings - everything from first returning adult monarch and new milkweed growth, to the first egg and larva sightings.
The Journey North reports for last week are showing a lull between monarch generations which tends to happen around this time of the migration each year. In addition to tracking the returning overwintering monarchs, you can also watch the progression of the first monarch larvae across the continent.

Have you seen monarch activity in your part of the country? Report your sightings! http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/SpringWatch.html
Learn more about how you can help save the monarch!