Tracking Monarchs: Drenching Rains, Floods and Cold Days, Where Are Monarchs Today?

February 14, 2024 by Nancy Sheehan, Program Coordinator

Gail Morris returns to provide updates on the Western monarch population. Estela Romero continues to report from the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Volunteer observations in the US have been few. How might extreme weather events impact monarchs in February? With spring just around the corner, are you seeing milkweed yet in warmer regions of the US?

“Really funny place for a pupa.” Photo: Jim in Pinellas Park, FL (02/09/2024)

Monarchs Overwinter in Southeastern U.S.

How have the two cold fronts in the Southeastern US impacted monarchs observed early in January 2024? Have they succumbed to the freezing temperatures? There are only a few new reports in February 2024. These reports indicate that only a few monarchs survived the cold temperatures. Some monarchs appear to be breeding. In Florida, monarch reports continue to be submitted.  

Shelby in Universal City, TX: “This one hatched and we have 6 healthy-looking Chrysalis. We found them while trying to get the butterfly garden ready for spring. They survived our freeze in January.” (02/10/2024)

Mary in Corpus Christi, TX: ”We found two larva on our milkweed plants in the backyard this morning.” (02/11/2024)

Virginia in Gretna, LA: “Afternoon sunny nectaring on henbit in the back yard.” (02/10/2024)

Marilyn in Kenner, LA observed more evidence of breeding monarchs. (02/10/2024)

Join Journey North in tracking winter monarch sightings across the Southeastern U.S. from December to March. If you’re in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina, please report your monarch and milkweed observations. Your data will help assess changes in monarch distribution. Are they resting, nectaring, mating, laying eggs, or clustering? These insights will improve our understanding of monarch wintering behavior, habitat preferences, and breeding activities in the region. This collaborative study includes partners like the Georgia DNR, Monarch Across Georgia, and the University of Georgia Altizer Lab. Check out our flyer for instructions.

Instructional Flyer

From the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Estela Romero provides a snapshot of monarch behavior this week at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Read more:     

Letter from Estela Romero: Denser Concentration of Monarchs

Carta de Estela Romero: Concentración más Densa de Monarcas

More videos have been added to Journey North’s YouTube channel. Enjoy scenes from the Sanctuaries.

Playlist: 2023-2024 Overwintering Season at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

Western Monarch Population

Letter From Gail Morris: 

Gail Morris writes: “It had been a relatively peaceful winter overwintering season on the California coast. Then suddenly monarchs were confronted by fierce winds and pummeling rain last week just as they began to leave the groves. Everyone is wondering how the monarchs fared. Stephanie Tucotte traces their movements at Pacific Grove before the storm hit and how the monarchs fared after the storms. Diana Magor shares the post-storm observations at Lighthouse Fields in Santa Cruz, California.“ 

2024 Spring Letter #1: Western Monarch Population News From Gail Morris

Please Submit Your Observational Reports

If you are observing monarchs and milkweed, please report to Journey North. 

Thank you!