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Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 7, 2005

Today’s Update Includes

Latest Migration Maps
Make Your Own Map in the classroom!

Migration Sightings
Sightings of Overnight Roosts PEAK
Migration Sightings
Click for live maps and read what each observer saw!

Highlights From the Migration Trail
Spectacular sightings were witnessed in Texas this week, as masses of Mexico-bound monarchs crossed that state. In total, almost 200 people reported southbound monarchs this week from points across the map. Here are some of this week’s highlights:

"Zillions" in San Angelo, TX, astonished Susan Gober on Sunday. "When we stepped out into the backyard the monarchs would take flight. There were so many flying up that the sound of the fluttering wings was louder than you might think a butterfly flap to be! The children were thrilled to see so many!"

"Monarchs were everywhere on Saturday," said Donna Kelly of South Elementary in Midland, TX. "Several locations within a 30-mile radius reported hundreds, and a pecan orchard about 30 miles from town had 20,000 roosting."

A student at Eldorado Middle School brought in a videotape of monarchs roosting in her aunt's trees. "Beautiful!" said teacher Katrina Gonzales.

Monarchs in Sweetwater, Texas
Courtesy of Mike Bessire

From the north and east of Texas, monarchs kept coming:

"We counted 22 monarchs in 25 minutes," wrote St. Paul Elementary students from Arkansas. "My teacher, Mrs. Anita Lawrence of the 6th grade, has given us the wonderful opportunity to see these cool butterflies," added one student. "They were every where," said another.

"This is a FIRST!" exclaimed teacher Chatty Wight of Rabun County Elementary. Her 5th grade student "saw 30 monarchs roosting in her trees" in Long Creek, SC. Notice how few monarchs are reported from that region and you'll understand the excitement.

Far from Mexico, monarchs were feeding in flower beds in New York City. "At first it was just exciting because the kids learn about the butterfly life cycle," said teacher Susan Stein. Then she realized the monarchs were on their way to Mexico for the winter.

"We love to watch the migrating monarchs!" said Tisdale Elementary School students nearby in Ramsey, NJ. Students saw several while playing on the playground at recess. "We are very excited and are keeping a watchful eye for monarchs."

See This! Week-by-week Migration Animation
These maps show where people have seen roosting monarch this fall along the migration trail. Name two new things you notice as you watch the migration move, week-by-week.

Location of Overnight Roosts

Click Map
See Change Each Week

See Animation

Traditional fall migration pathways through Texas

Courtesy of Mike Quinn, Texas Monarch Watch

Two Texas Flyways: The Highways Monarchs Travel to Mexico
As millions upon millions of monarchs fly down from the north, they will funnel through Texas and beyond. Texas is the only U.S. state that all monarchs must cross. In Texas, the migration narrows and becomes more concentrated before it enters Mexico. The monarchs seem to travel on two distinct flyways, the "Central Flyway" and the "Coastal Flyway." They seem to arrive at different times in each flyway, too. First, a pulse travels down the Central Flyway. About two weeks later, a second pulse moves along the Coastal Flyway.

Right now, "they're coming down the heart of the Central Flyway," explained Mike Quinn, of Texas Monarch Watch. "The Central Flyway may originate in the upper Midwest."

Notice how well the animated maps support Mike Quinn's theory! It makes sense that monarchs from the Midwest would reach Texas quickly. They do not have to fly as far as butterflies from the east must travel.

  • Let's watch what happens next. Will our maps show monarchs on the Coastal Flyway?

¡Bienvenidas a México! Las primeras monarcas han cruzado la frontera
We have just received our first report of monarchs that have crossed the border into Mexico! If you can't read Spanish, it's time to find a friend who can:

2 de Octubre Monterrey, Nuevo Leon (25 N, -100 W)
"¿Será posible que Monarcas ya estén en los alrededores de Monterrey? Mientras observabamos un partido de soccer a 30 kilometros al norte del centro de Monterrey ayer Domingo 2 de Octubre, en un típico paraje de Mesquital (estilo Texas)observé lo que parecían ser dos mariposas Monarca volando en dirección sur. Esto ocurrió alrededor del Domingo 2 de Octubre a las 11:00 AM, estas volaban a algunos siete metros por encima del campo de fútbol aprovechando una suave brisa del norte. El cielo estaba semicubierto de nuebes con tempraturas oscilando 28oC."

The United States of Mexico: Challenge Question #6
Pull out your atlas and find the Estados Unidos Méxicanos. Did you know that Mexico is divided into states? How many can you name?

Challenge Question #6
"How many Mexican states are there? Through which states do you think the monarchs will travel?"

Who Saw the Most Monarchs This Week? Migration-rate Math
Follow the link below to a few of this week's observations, including a tricky one from Texas.

How to Report Your ObservationsReport Your Sightings
Put your monarch news on the map! Please send reports of monarchs flying, feeding, and resting. When you report your observations, include wind speed and direction. For instructions see:

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on October 14, 2005.


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