Monarchs Reach WI. Milkweed Emerge in ID, MN and St-Constant, QC.

May 7, 2020 by Team Journey North

Big news reported by Journey North citizen scientists in Wisconsin. Coastal California still a hot spot for monarch observations. Read more as you ponder where the monarch action will be next week?

“…In my back yard lilac bush. This is the earliest I have ever seen a monarch here…” Submitted by: C. (Philadelphia, PA; 05/04/2020)

Eastern Population of Monarchs

Into Wisconsin and Continuing Up Atlantic Coast

From Madison, WI: Jean exclaimed, “I’m positive it was a monarch…It flew in front of me and my dog as we stood in the yard, about 3 feet away. I watched it fly away, trying to determine the sex but I couldn’t. I did note that the orange color was paler than normal. I then got on my knees in that area and started looking for milkweed and found 7 shoots, each between 1-2” tall! They must have poked up a few days ago. I’ll check for eggs tomorrow and will respond here with my findings.” (05/06/2020)

From Milwaukee, WI: Jenny reported, “saw one adult Monarch @11:30am. 3 blocks west of Lake Michigan. No photo taken. I’m not 100% certain it was a monarch but I’m comfortable saying that I’m 99% sure…I have yet to see any other butterflies (swallowtails, painted ladies,red admirals) but the weather hasn’t been great so I haven’t been in the yard much. My milkweed is not up yet…”(05/03/2020)

From Xenia, OH: Debra reported,First Monarch sighted, we actually saw two. This one visited all our very tiny milkweed plants and appeared to be laying eggs.” (05/07/2020)

From Lancaster, PA: Maurice submitted this report, “I have planted milkweed near the two ponds in the back of the house. This one flew over the pond at the front of the house. The milkweed is about 4 inches high but I have not seen them near it yet…” (05/03/2020)

From Brick, NJ: Dani, “was caught off guard and could not grab my phone fast enough to snap a pic. It fluttered through my yard into my neighbor’s backyard. It looked to be in good shape.” (05/02/2020)

Don’t get caught off guard. It is difficult to capture the action with a photograph. However, photos help to validate sightings, especially for first adult monarch sightings at the leading migration front line. Keep either your cameras or phones at the ready.

Milkweed has emerged as far north as Minnesota, Wisconsin and St-Constant, QC.

From Minneapolis, MN: James commented, “On 4/27 the milkweed was just poking through and on 5/2 it was “1/3 hammer” high.” (04/27/2020)

Egg laying is happening at a fast pace.

From Greenwood, IN: Tania commented, “Even found this pair of eggs on a new butterfly weed plant. Eggs were found on common milkweed and butterfly weed.” (05/06/2020)

To lay or not to lay that is the question

Journey North citizen scientist observations offer interesting questions to ponder. For example, why might monarch prefer one milkweed plant over another? Perhaps your observations will generate more questions…and answers. 

From Marlow, OK: Donna reported a faded female Monarch was laying eggs on Asclepias viridis in my yard. Did not find any eggs on my common tuberosa or swamp. (05/03/2020)

Western Monarch Population Migration News

Gail Morris, Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study (, provides an update on the Western Monarch Population in her weekly report. 

Moving North

Monarchs were seen in the higher elevations of New Mexico this week for the first time this season in several locations. Meanwhile as near record breaking temperatures sizzle in the lower deserts of Arizona and California, monarchs will likely move into the higher elevations of Arizona and further north. Look for fruit and native trees in bloom and early flowers to sustain breeding monarchs while egg-laying on freshly emerged milkweed as they fly through.

Monarch & Milkweed Sightings

Mary in Valarde, New Mexico, spotted her first monarch of the season on May 1. It was a faded, pale orange color, flying along bosque-meadow edge. “This is rural agricultural and pasture land. We get several species of butterflies here and I do recognize the differences. We had a storm of Painted Ladies about 3 weeks ago and the Tiger Swallowtails are lazily flying around everyday for the last 3 or 4 days. My husband is a very avid butterfly watcher and knows what is around here. As a boy he tagged Monarchs in the late 1960’s in Houston, Texas when that project first started.”

Read more in Western Monarchs 2020 Spring Report #10

Looking For Fun Activities To Do At Home? 

Look no further! Journey North has many resources for anyone with a curious mind. This week we continue to feature resources that examine monarch population growth and limits to growth.


Monarchs & Milkweed Spring / Summer Maps

After FIRST sightings, please report: 

  • Monarch Adult Sighted
  • Milkweed Sighted
  • Monarch Egg Sighted
  • Monarch Larva Sighted 
  • Monarch (OTHER observations) *including behaviors such as mating and nectaring