Monarch Butterfly News: October 17, 2013
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Monarchs are stacking up in Texas under south winds, and coming down from the north in unusually large numbers. Can late-season monarchs make it to Mexico?

Image of the Week
Monarch Butterflies nectaring in Iowa prairie
Tiny Tags,
Big Discoveries

Jim Gagnon
News: Peak in Texas
Last week's predominantly south winds stalled the migration in Texas. Monarchs fed hungrily while waiting for north winds.

"Strong winds out of the south have pretty much stalled directional flight. Went around my 1.5 acre property that's heavily planted with butterfly host and nectar plants and counted 850+ monarchs." October 11 Glenn Heights, TX

Across the border in Mexico, Rocio Treviño coordinates the migration-tracking project there:

"We are still awaiting the monarchs. Hopefully the next cold front will carry them into Coahuila." October 12 Saltillo, Coahuila

Still Leaving the North
During the past week, exceptionally late monarchs were counted in surprisingly large numbers. Many were still 2,000 miles from their winter home in Mexico, and where cold October temperatures could trap them.

  • Iowa: An estimated 500 monarchs were mobbing late-blooming prairie flowers on October 10th.
  • Michigan: The same day, 39 monarchs were counted as they traveled down the Lake Huron shoreline.
  • Wisconsin: Mid-October's boldest butterfly was the monarch flying over Lake Michigan last week, two miles offshore!

Too Late to Migrate?
Late-migrating monarchs are less likey to reach Mexico, but they can travel quickly when conditions are favorable as this tagging story shows.

Monarch Butterflies nectaring in Iowa prairie
Peak in Texas
Matt Irwin
Monarch Butterfly Roost in Texas
Still Leaving North
Gary Tetzlaff
Map of Tagged Monarch Recovery
Too Late to Migrate?

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
News from Mexico: Letter from Estela
After a long walk in search of monarchs, our official monitors in Mexico recorded a zero on their chart.

"You, Estela, draw that 'zero' for us. We are too tired and disappointed to report our ill-fated expedition today."

Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Spotlight: Stories About Tagged Monarchs
What can we learn about migration from tagged monarchs? News from Mexico
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 October 24, 2013