Migration Update: August 27, 2009 Please Report
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Photo: Vincent Burolla
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The Migration: Maps and Questions

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PEAK Migration


ALL Monarch
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Make Your Own Migration Map

For Your Journal
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They're Off! Flying, Resting, and Refueling
Welcome to Journey South's fall migration season! The monarchs are on their way to Mexico and excitement is in the air. We hope you'll report your sightings. Watch for monarchs that are flying in "directional flight," resting at overnight roosts, or refueling at flowers in fields, gardens, or roadsides.

Signs of Fall Monarch Migration!
It's only August, but people are reporting clear signs of fall monarch migration. After watching carefully, they have noticed changes in the numbers of monarchs they see and changes in the monarchs' behavior. Here are some signs of migration people have witnessed:

  • The first overnight roosts of the season were reported during the past 10 days in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Overnight temperatures dropped into the 40's last week in the Upper Midwest, and that was when the reports of roosting monarchs occurred. (Monarchs only migrate during the day. They cluster together in trees for the night.)
  • You can watch this video clip of monarchs forming a roost on Sunday night in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. (Special thanks to Pat Swerkstrom, and Tom and Julie Murphy!)
  • Signs of directional flight have been reported for over two weeks now. Most unusual was a report from Oklahoma of southbound migration at an amazing rate of 46 monarchs per hour--in August! This is about a month before we expect to see such a strong pulse of migration there.

You can read more first-hand observations at the link below. Think about these questions:

  • What evidence do the observers provide that the monarchs they see are migrating?
  • How do the observers try to measure the changes they see in monarch numbers and behavior?

Monarchs resting in Buffalo Center, Iowa


Video clip of monarchs forming a roost in Cannon Falls, Minnesota


For Your Journal

Slideshow: When, Where and How to Watch the Fall Migration

When, Where and How to Watch Fall Monarch Migration
What kind of observations does Journey North collect and how are they important? Students explore these questions as they read and analyze authentic migration sightings. They discover that detailed reports are essential in a scientific study of monarch migration. Students apply their learning by writing their own "Practice Reports." Finally, they learn how to report monarch sightings to Journey North by submitting their practice reports to the live "Practice Report" map.

Guided Tour Teacher Guide #1: The Magic of Monarch Migration

Build a sense of wonder about monarchs and migration. Start with the big questions surrounding monarch butterfly migration. Invite students to be citizen scientists, actively engaged in real-world, real-time scientific inquiry with Journey North as your guide.

Teacher Guide Includes
Parent letter, blank map, slideshow & planning guide, journal cover, journal pages, reproducibles (Journal Page for Research Questions, Research Chart), related links, vocabulary.

Links: Monarch Resources to Explore

Monarch Butterfly Migration Updates Will be Posted on THURSDAYS: Aug. 27, Sep. 3, 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5...or until the monarchs reach Mexico!

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on September 3, 2009.