Spring Migration Is Stirring
March has arrived and the spring migration season is almost here. In Mexico, Estela Romero and Ana Moreno are seeing signs that monarchs will soon be heading north. And in the Western U.S., Gail Morris shares news that monarch numbers are still strong at overwintering sites but upcoming warmer weather could spark more movement.
Letter from Estela Romero: Monarchs Creep North with Rising Temperatures
Winter is winding down in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Monarchs are becoming more active and slowly but surely starting to relocate and move north. Estela Romero writes, “A rather mild winter with fewer and less intense rain, with some frost and sleet, has made this season different than previous seasons. Regardless, we approach the end of the monarch overwintering season in our of oyamel fir forests. Now, monarchs will break from their colonies to relocate nearby but clearly moving north. The monarchs wrap tree trunks. They form large ‘pools’ on the ground while enjoying the warm sun rays. Occasionally, monarchs will explode into action with the warming light and temperatures.”
Letter from Ana Moreno: Almost at the End of Another Season
At Cerro Pelon Sanctuary, Ana Moreno reflects on a unique season and points to signs that monarchs will soon be on their way north. Ana writes, “We are almost at the end of another season, a season that made us learn something new as always … These times have been difficult for everyone, but the most important thing is that we can share with the rest of the world our joy of witnessing again one of the most important migrations … And we can say that we are already feeling sad to know that the butterflies are getting ready to start their journey back to the north, it’s easy to tell because we have seen them looking for nectar and water, to keep the energy they need.”
Letter from Gail Morris: Western Monarch Winter 2021–22 Report #9
In the Western U.S., colder weather is limiting monarch activity, but as Gail Morris notes, this is actually a good thing as it means more milkweed will be ready by the time monarchs leave overwintering sites. Gail writes, “Colder weather slowed monarch activity and sightings last week and some monarchs are still reported at the California overwintering sites. This is a good sign for the season since more milkweed will be up and ready for them when they do leave. In fact, the butterfly counts at Pacific Grove were even higher than the previous week. Arizona deserts are reporting monarchs as well. With warmer weather rolling in, look for monarchs flying your way. Keep your camera handy and be sure to report your sightings!”
Southeastern Monarch Monitoring Project
Thanks to all who participated in our targeted monarch butterfly monitoring project. Your observations provide valuable information to researchers about monarch overwintering behavior and how monarchs respond to extreme weather events in the the Southeastern U.S. Thank you!
It is time to transition from this project as spring migration is almost here!