Brighter Days Ahead
As February progresses, winter begins to loosen its grip. Pato Moreno, Estela Romero, and Gail Morris provide updates on monarchs at overwintering sites in Mexico and California. And if you are seeing monarchs, report your observations to Journey North.
Letter from Pato Moreno: Better Days Will Come
At Cerro Pelon Sanctuary, monarch activity is picking up as weather conditions improve. Pato Moreno writes, “With the arrival of February the days have cleared up and we have seen some mating. It gives me joy that I can see that the butterflies are flying and mating, because for everyone it is incredible when this happens. But at the same time it makes me sad to think that February has fewer days and the season for us to have butterflies here is getting shorter little by little.”
Letter from Estela Romero: Our Forests Are the Green Gold for Present and Future Generations
Avocado production is booming in Michoacán. Balancing monarch habitat conservation with economic opportunities for local communities presents challenges, but there are sustainable agriculture practices that may help. Estela Romero writes, “Studies show that avocado plantations can reduce their adverse soil impacts if agricultural entities follow environmentally sustainable practices. Sustainable agriculture will considerably reduce pressure on our forests’ conservation while still providing needed jobs to many in our communities … Monarch habitat conservation needs prompt and effective action to promote sustainable agricultural practices, especially the production of avocados.”
Letter from Gail Morris: Western Monarch Winter 2021–22 Report #6
Similar to Cerro Pelon Sanctuary, monarch mating behavior is also being observed at overwintering sites in the Western U.S. Gail Morris writes, “In the West, cooler weather this week slowed down monarch activity in the overwintering sites and helped to encourage monarchs to stay near the safety of the groves. Observers are witnessing many mating monarchs, a harbinger of the season. Monarchs remaining along the coast, rather than departing early, will benefit in their migration as early emerging milkweed appears along the California Spring Migration flyways. Knowing this gives us a sense of hope.”
Monitor Overwintering Monarchs in Southeastern U.S.
For many in the Southeastern U.S., the weather has been erratic. How have cold temperatures and storms impacted monarch behavior in this region? As we enter the final month of our targeted study, you can help by submitting your reports to Journey North. Perhaps we will surpass last years engagement by volunteers. Since November 1, almost 5,000 monarch observations have been submitted to Journey North. Thank you and please keep reporting.