Jim Gilbert

Monarch Butterfly

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Monarch Butterfly

Fall 2003

Journey South News will be posted on Fridays:
Aug. 29, Sep. 5, 12, 19, 26, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov. 7. ...or until the monarchs arrive in Mexico!

Journey South News

Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: August 29, 2003
The first overnight roosts are now being reported from the northern reaches of the monarch's breeding grounds. Patient observers there who keep an eye skyward can see a southbound monarch drift across the sky every few minutes. Monarch butterflies are born knowing the way to Mexico. All that information is passed from generation to generation inside an egg that's smaller than the head of a pin! As you learn about monarchs, list all the things they're born knowing.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Sept. 5, 2003
The strongest migration of the season to date was reported last week across Minnesota. Neighbors in Iowa are now noticing the influx as monarchs move southward. A surprising report arrived from across the ocean! Where do you think that monarch that landed in England come from? As you monitor the migration, quantify your sightings by determining the migration rate. For practice, tell us who saw the most monarchs last week.
FlightThermalWorley024 Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Sept. 12, 2003
It was peak migration in Iowa last week, and the monarchs have now clearly moved into Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and even Missouri and Kansas. The first big surge was reported along the East Coast, with thousands reported along the shores of Long Island. Monarchs fly free to Mexico when they glide in the wind or on a thermal. What's a thermal, and what's it like to fly in one? This week: A field trip in the sky to find out.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Sept. 19, 2003
A classic fall cold front plowed across North America this week, and monarchs rode southward with the north winds in its wake. As Hurricane Isabel hits land, how will migrating butterflies be affected? Migration is not for babies. How do we know reports of "baby" monarch butterflies are false? As the migration heads for Mexico, students are watching. When do you predict the first monarchs will reach their destination?
FlightPowered12 Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Sept. 26, 2003
Las primeras monarcas han cruzado la frontera. So if you can't read Spanish, it's time to find a friend who can. Migrating monarchs are now traveling across the land, from Canada all the way into Mexico. When monarchs soar, they use 22 times less energy than during flapping flight. This slow motion view of monarch flight shows why flapping is so energy-expensive.
FlightPowered12 Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Oct. 3, 2003
Monarchs are now soaring into the Lone Star State of Texas, in what appears to be one of the biggest migrations in years. Meanwhile, the first substantial wave moved down the mid-Atlantic Coast. Salt from Hurricane Isabel killed back the monarch’s best nectar plants there. Why is nectar especially important to monarchs in the fall? How far do monarchs travel in a day? Tagging stories tell interesting tales.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Oct. 10, 2003
Texas is the only state on the migration pathway that all monarchs must cross, and last week the migration was spectacular there. Why is nectar is so important to monarch butterflies in the fall? Now's the time they gain weight for the winter's 5-month fast and store fuel for the round trip migration to Mexico and back.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Oct. 17, 2003
A big push across the border into Mexico occurred Wednesday. “¡Por fin llegaron!, came the cry when clouds of monarchs appeared. Butterflies continue to pour down from the far north. Can these late season monarchs make it to Mexico? Analyze tagging data and find out. Migration is one adaptation to survive lethally cold northern winters. How do those that DON'T migrate survive?

Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Oct. 24, 2003
Monarch sightings are starting to pour in from Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, Mexico. One person reported, "clouds of monarchs all over our city." A treat this week: From NASA’s "Visible Earth" website a satellite image of the region the monarchs are now crossing. It's so large and detailed that the very mountain tops the monarchs are approaching can be seen. Look down at earth from space and follow the migration trail.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Oct. 31, 2003
“¡Las primeras mariposas han llegado!” came the word from Michoacan. The first butterflies have arrived! They’ve crossed the continent to a finish line only 73 miles wide. Make a migration trail, to scale, so you can visualize this feat. Monarchs typically reach the sanctuaries at the time of Dias de Los Muertos. Video and photos in today’s update provide a picture of this Mexican tradition.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: Nov. 7, 2003
Sanctuary trees are now filling with butterflies, and students nearby are counting hundreds per minute as the monarchs arrive. "Why do monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico every year instead of some place else?" asked a student. When Journey North starts in February, we’ll explore the key climatic factors that can mean life and death for monarchs in Mexico. Get your weather station ready!




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