Coping with the Cold

January 26, 2022 by Team Journey North

Surviving winter is no small task for monarchs. Hear from Estela Romero, Pato Moreno, and Gail Morris on how monarchs are faring in Mexico, California, and Arizona. And if you live in the Southeastern U.S., report winter monarch sightings to Journey North.

Monarchs bask in the sun to stay warm at Cerro Pelon Sanctuary, Mexico. Photo by: Pato Moreno

Letter from Estela Romero: The Wonder of Winter

At El Rosario and Sierra Chincua Sanctuaries, Estela Romero shares news of many eager visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the monarchs. Estela writes, “The peak of the season attracts thousands of visitors week after week regardless of the weather. This past week, the weather has been cold and gray. There was even frost conditions. Visitors still arrived to tour the oyamel fir forests and the overwintering monarchs … Visitors leaving the [monarch] colony are moved by the incredible spectacle that nature offers.”

Read more of Estela Romero’s Letter: The Wonder of Winter»

Leer más de la carta de Estela Romero: La Maravilla de Invierno»

Letter from Pato Moreno: A Cold Week

At Cerro Pelon Sanctuary, Pato Moreno gives an update on how the colony is doing during a stretch of cold and stormy weather. Pato writes, “As it was mentioned in the previous report, in January it began to feel very cold and sometimes it felt a little warm during the day. But this week it has felt even colder … we could see only one small branch of an oyamel fir tree was broken from the storm. It was covered with butterflies, and all of them on that branch were on the ground and couldn’t fly. Over the course of the day the sun warmed them up a little bit and most of them were able to climb at least on some shrubs or dry branches that were nearby, and this saved them from dying.”

Read more of Pato Moreno’s Letter: A Cold Week»

Leer más de la carta de Pato Moreno: Una Semana Fría»

Letter from Gail Morris: Western Monarch Winter 2021–22 Report #4

Out West, Gail Morris highlights monarch activity at overwintering sites in California and shares reports from other parts of California and Arizona. Gail writes, “Signs of monarch mating are appearing in more California overwintering sites and monarchs are becoming more active as well. Yet site numbers are still indicating many monarchs are still staying in the region around the groves, a safe harbor this time of year. Other parts of California and Southern Arizona are reporting a few fresh and new monarchs as well. Be sure to read about all the monarch activity reported by Community Scientists in the field – it’s been a busy week!”

Read more of Gail Morris’ Letter: Western Monarch Winter 2021–22 Report #4»

Monitor Overwintering Monarchs in Southeastern U.S.

Thank you to all who have participated in our targeted monarch butterfly monitoring project. Between November 1, 2021 and January 14, 2022, 4395 monarch observations were submitted to Journey North. These observations will contribute to research efforts on overwintering behavior of monarch butterflies in the the Southeastern U.S.

But your sustained help is needed. If you live in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida as well as Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, during the rest of winter, please continue to report your monarch observations to Journey North.

Learn more about What to Report view our Instructional Flyer.