Journey North News: Winter & Spring 2007

Posted Fridays: Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Apr. 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25...and weekly until the migration is complete!

June 1 , 2007
The migration is reaching the end! The record numbers of monarchs reporting during the past two weeks show the population is building. Play the animated map back and forth to see the impact! Also this week: A true survival story... >>.

Photo: Mary Ramsower

May 25, 2007
Just a short update today to share the latest monarch migration maps and data. Take a closer look at the map today. Have the monarchs been seen in their entire range? Where will they be sighted next? Explore and read the comments of monarch spotters as the next generation is finding milkweed to begin the life cycle once more in the north.
May 18, 2007
What a week! Strong, gusty winds blew from the south and the monarchs must have hitched a ride. All at once many appeared in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario. The northernmost monarch is now approaching latitude 47 N. Also this week: How does a monarch get out of the chrysalis? Use your powers of observation to explore that question with a series of time-lapse photos. Photo: Elizabeth Howard
May 11, 2007
This week's big news: Monarchs have crossed into Canada! It was a slow week otherwise, but we predict the big surge will occur within the week. Also this week: Watch a caterpillar become a chrysalis in slow motion. What will happen to its eyes, mouth, and head? And where will the beautiful gold spots of the chrysalis come from? Take a look! Photo: Elizabeth Howard
May 4, 2007
The quiet was typical for the first week of May. Monarchs were few and far between --and they were far flung! Why would a monarch be sighted in South Dakota before Iowa or Nebraska, for example? And what about the monarch sighted in Massachusetts? Also this week, take a trip to the milkweed patch to find monarchs. Photo: Elizabeth Howard

April 27, 2007
What an odd migration map! A narrow string of sightings stretches across Illinois all the way to central Wisconsin, where an early monarch was spotted on April 20th. How early is this monarch and why is it so far ahead of other Midwest sightings? Also, sightings this week of many fresh-winged monarchs mean the new generation is on the wing. Take a close look at monarch wings today! Photo: Wayne Kryduba

April 20, 2007
The monarchs from Mexico are laying their last eggs and living their last days. It's fitting that Earth Day comes every year when a new monarch generation is replacing the old. A single monarch can lay hundreds of eggs. This week, find out how many generations it would take to reach a billion butterflies--and explore why we don't have a billion! Photo: Elizabeth Howard

April 13, 2007
Dangerously cold! The migration froze in place this week. So did fresh spring flowers and tiny green leaves as freezing temperatures moved across much of the monarch's breeding range. How were monarchs effected by this record-breaking cold? Also this week: Answers from the Expert, an interview with Dr. Brower —and the egg-count from Ms. Monarch!

April 6, 2007
Take a look at the map! It was a warm week and the migration advanced another 300 miles! It's been an unusually warm spring in the Midwest and the monarchs moved in early. Explore how migration and temperature are related. The monarch's spring migration is unusual because it takes at least two generations to complete. When will the new generation be born and continue the journey that their parents began?

March 30, 2007
The butterflies advanced nearly 250 miles to the north and 200 miles to the east this week, in the most dramatic move of the season. Every spring we rely on hundreds of observers to track the monarch's migration. These observers expand the eyes and ears of scientists in ways not possible before — does everybody know a monarch when they see one? Let's practice butterfly identification!

March 23, 2007
The migration has moved into two new states — Louisiana and Arkansas! Monarchs are mostly GONE from the colonies now, and scientists are following them northward to find the pathway across Mexico. Hummingbirds arrive each spring at the same time monarchs do. Although one is a bird and the other a butterfly, they are heading north for the same reasons. What can we learn by comparing their migrations?

March 16, 2007
The monarchs are pouring out of Mexico now and they're trickling into Texas. The migration's leading edge has reached 30N. Where do you think they will appear next? New Mexico? Oklahoma? Arkansas? (You might be surprised!) This week: Why do the monarchs travel where they do? What drives the pace and direction of the migration?
Photo: Dr. Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College

March 9, 2007
Here come the monarchs! Spring migration begins every March in a flurry. The monarchs are in a race against time. They can't stay in Mexico any longer — but they can't move north too quickly either. The timing of their spring migration must be precise. How do they know when to leave, and why do they go now?
Photo: Dr. Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College

March 2 , 2007
It's March! The days are getting longer and temperatures rising in the monarch colonies in Mexico. "Within the month—a relatively short time—these butterflies will vacate their winter haunt and begin the recolonization of North America." Get ready to track the spring migration! Also: Find out who's been eating monarchs in Mexico this winter...
Photo: Dr. Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College

February 23, 2007
It's too early for spring migration, but monarchs are on the move! They are spreading down the arroyos in search of water. These early signs of colony break-up mean the wintering season is coming to a close. Monarch butterflies have been in Mexico since November. Can they survive all winter with little or no food at all? Let's explore!
Photo: Don Davis

February 16, 2007
It can be warm during the day at the monarch's winter home in Mexico, but at night it's as cold as the inside of your refrigerator! Most people are puzzled when they hear this. Why do monarchs migrate across the continent to spend the winter in a place that is cold? This week, a trip inside a monarch colony to see how the cold affects the monarchs—and how the forest protects them.
Photo: Dr. Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College

February 9, 2007
Why do Monarchs fly to Mexico from across the continent? Each week we're exploring a piece of the puzzle.
It's the dry season there now. Where can Monarchs find the water they need? "I have a series of pictures that tell a neat story," begins Dr. Lincoln Brower."
Photo: Dr. Lincoln Brower, Sweet Briar College

February 2, 2007
Welcome to Journey North's spring's migration season!  It's been three months since the first monarchs reached their winter home in Mexico after their long, fall migration. How many monarchs survived the trip? Today's report explores that important conservation question. Read on!
Photo: Elizabeth Howard

Welcome to Journey North's spring monarch migration season!

Winter >> We begin each year while the monarchs are still at the overwintering sites, deep in central Mexico. The monarch’s story of survival during the winter months in Mexico is as spectacular as their incredible migration. During the first weeks, we’ll look at the monarch’s winter habitat and their adaptations for survival.

Spring >> Get ready to track the migration! The monarchs head north in March. Find out how to report your sightings and track the migration on real-time migration maps.