Monarch Migration News: February 26, 2015
By Elizabeth Howard
Report Your Sightings
Please Report
Your Sightings!
There's a flurry of activity now as thirsty monarchs break out of their clusters in search of water.

Estela Romero

News: Change is in the Air
Estela threaded her way through a sea of butterflies as she drove to El Rosario on Sunday:

"In a wonderful, bright, sunny sky, thousands of monarchs came down the canyon in such a playful rush. Incredibly, they were diverting their flight at the very last second to avoid me..."

Monarchs in Motion
Clear, dry weather stimulates the butterflies to move out of their colonies for water. Mexico's dry season began when the monarchs arrived, about 4 months ago. As the ambient air becomes increasingly dry, it dries out the forest and the butterflies. The wind — and the lack of moisture in the air — dries them quickly. Dew, a source of water earlier in the season, is no longer available.

In Search of Water
The monarchs must leave their clusters and travel to water. At the sanctuary, Estela witnessed the flurry of activity:

"I cannot remember such an incredible display. Monarchs carpeted the ground, jamming ponds and small rivers to drink, flying rapidly in all directions and criss-crossing without colliding."

Recovering Monarch Tags
Estela joined Monarch Watch volunteer Diane Pruden last weekend to collect tags. Several hundred are recovered each season at the sanctuaries. People are on the lookout for the tiny tags. When found, they wait for the annual visit from Monarch Watch. For each tag recovered there's a 50-peso reward.

"When our children come home with a tag, they give it to us parents for keeping it safe until the time collection comes" says Carmen, one of the women who brought tags this year. 

Precipitation at Mexico's Monarch Butterfy Overwintering Region
Dry Season
Monarch Butterflies Flying for Water
Flying for Water
Thirsty Monarch Butterflies
Thirsty Butterflies
Monarch Butterflies Monarch Butterflies Monarch Butterflies
Ask the Expert: Now Open
What do you wonder about monarchs? Get your questions ready for Dr. Karen Oberhauser.


Monarch Butterflies
Maps: Report Your Sightings
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2015
What to Report First Adult
report | map | list
report | map | list
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map
First Egg
report | map | list
First Larvae
report | map | list
Other Observations
report | map | list
Journal and Activities
  • Journal: Monarchs and Mexico's Dry Season
Next Update March 5, 2015