Monarch Migration News: October 8, 2015
By Elizabeth Howard
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‚ÄĚThere were literally thousands, coming in big and small bands like snow flurries..." And so began the mass migration into Texas.

Monarch Butterfly
"I'm thrilled to see we are on their migration pathway." Betsy Sharp, O'Brien, TX

 
News: Funneling into Texas
With a gentle push from the north wind, the migration began to flow into Texas this week.

"We estimated 1,000 butterflies over a 4-hour period. We would get waves of about 10 at a time over our house but could see them in the distance, too. We turned a on sprinkler and put it in the sun." Beverly Prichard, Robert Lee, Texas Oct 5, 2015

The average roost-size in Texas has been 1,000 monarchs so far, and numbers should build to peak over the coming week.

All Are Texas-bound
Monarchs moving down from northern latitudes are all headed for Texas. It's the only state that all monarchs must cross. The migration pathway is narrowing now and the butterflies are becoming more concentrated.

Blown Westward
Unusually large numbers of monarchs were reported from Colorado again this week. One roost contained 3,000 butterflies and another was as far west as Colorado Springs (-104°W). Persistent east winds appear to have blown the monarchs westward this fall and south winds have prevented their travels toward Texas.

Atlantic Winds
Mark Garland of the Cape May Monarch Monitoring program sums up the status of the Atlantic Coast migration in a word: Wind!

During what's usually peak migration, almost 2 weeks of easterly winds (from the ocean) have not been driving monarchs to the Coast. Add to that the strong winds associated with Hurricane Joaquin last week and migration along the Atlantic has been only a trickle.

Looking Ahead
The next cold front should sweep the monarchs southward across the Great Plains as early as Friday. Keep your eyes on Texas!

The traditional arrival at the overwintering sites in Mexico is November 1st, about 3 weeks from now. Use the peak migration map to predict when they'll arrive.

Monarch Butterfly
Finding Frostweed
Sondra Fox

Monarch Butterfly
Seeking Water
Fredrick Alley
 
Monarch Butterfly
Blown Westward
Joe Schell

 

Monarch Butterfly
Atlantic Winds
Barbara Becker
Conservation News

Concern About Monarch Releases
"Breeding and releasing monarchs might seem like a harmless activity, something that might even help struggling populations. Unfortunately, the practice holds the potential to actually harm wild monarchs and disrupt research that is critical to their conservation," explains Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director, The Xerces Society.

Maps: Report Your Sightings
What to Report to Track Fall Migration Monarch Butterfly: Adult Sighted Monarch Butterfly: Egg or Larva Sighted
What to Report Adult Butterflies
map | list | animation
Eggs and Larvae
map | list
Monarch Butterfly Migration Map: Fall Roosts, Fall 2015 Monarch Butterfly Migration Map: Peak Migration Fall 2015 How You Can Help
Fall Roosts
map | list | archives | animation
Peak Migration
map | list | animation
 
Journal and Activities
Journal
Next Update October 15, 2015