Monarch Butterfly News: August 29, 2013
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
We're waiting for reports of overnight roosts, a traditional sign of fall migration. Your observations reveal this year's unfolding story. Image of the Week
Monarch Butterfly
Why leave now?

Charlene Ryan
News: A Slow Start
Waiting for Roosts
Every August, people in the north begin to report roosting monarchs. In a typical year, several dozen roosts would have been reported by now. This year, two observers wondered about clusters of three monarchs:

"Not sure if this counts as a fall roost," wrote Christina from South Dakota. She saw three monarchs where a roost of 200 monarchs was exactly a year ago.

"Last evening I saw three at dusk flying between the flowers and a nearby tree. I would describe that as roosting behavior," reported Laura Molenaar from Minnesota.

What is a Roost?
Monarchs only migrate during the day. At night they gather in overnight clusters called roosts. How many monarchs consistitute a roost? There is no standard number. Journey North sets a minimum of 12 clustering monarchs. The number 12 is arbitrary, but used for consistency in data collection.

Looking Ahead
The lack of roost reports may be more evidence of a declining population. Let's watch the wind and weather to see what happens next.

"Wind has been from the south and very warm temperatures (70's-90's). Monarchs are definitely in a holding pattern now, feeding until a north wind sends them south. First cold night could bring some roosts," says Pat Swerkstrom from Wisconsin.

Monarch butterfllies roosting in South Dakota
What is a Roost?
Christina Westley
A Typical Roost
A Typical Roost
Patty Moss
Monarch Butterfly

Watch the Wind 

Monarch Population: Why the Decline?
Monarch numbers are down and people are wondering why. Examine the factors that caused the decline during the past year and the downward trend over the past decade. Explore how you can help.

Monarch Butterfly Population Graph
Slideshow: When, Where and How to Watch Fall Migration
As monarchs travel to Mexico through your hometown, what signs of migration might you see? Learn when, where, and how you can observe fall monarch migration.

Tracking the Migration: Map and Journal
What to Report to Track Fall Migration Monarch Butterfly Migration Map: Peak Migration, Fall 2012 Worksheet: Journal Page
What to Report
Next Update September 5, 2013