March'n Into Spring

March 1, 2024 by Nancy Sheehan, Program Coordinator

Get ready for spring migration.

Busy nectaring at onset of spring migration. Photo: Diane Magor in Santa Cruz, CA

Special Alert: Get Ready For Spring

Many species have begun their spring migration to their northern breeding grounds. Get ready for monarchs to arrive. Get outside to witness this wonder of nature.

Milkweed Up. Waiting for Monarchs.

Monarchs are predicted to arrive in southern Texas perhaps early next week. The anticipated number of monarchs returning from Mexico in March is forecasted to be notably low. The timing and number of initial observational reports can serve as the primary indicators for gauging the Eastern monarch population’s prospects this spring. Your reports are crucial! Please submit your observations to Journey North and don’t forget to include a photograph. Certain research endeavors rely on visual documentation and may not utilize data from Journey North without accompanying images. Do your best to capture the scenes unfolding in nature, but remember, your observations are valuable even without a photo. Let’s all contribute to the collective understanding of wildlife migration.

The conditions in Texas currently are favorable for the arrival of monarchs, with milkweeds sprouting and the spring flowers blooming. While temperatures have been slightly elevated, hopes remain high for a return to normalcy. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for numbers that surpass expectations.

Stephanie in Cumming, GA: ”New seedling just germinated!” (02/25/2024)

Amy in Patterson, LA: “…Coming up in the garden. The first new growth after the freeze. None of the other plants have new growth yet.” (02/13/2024)

Chuck in Driftwood, TX: ”We found our first signs of emerging milkweed today. Some small Asperula sprouts were spotted in a location at the back of our lot that had milkweed last season. Good rains thus far this year, so we’re hoping the timing of milkweed emergence is good for the re-migrants.:” (02/18/2024)

Dale in Glenn Heights, TX: “Asclepias oenotheroides in my yard. Earlier than usual.” (02/27/2024)

Monarchs Overwinter in Southeastern U.S.

Thank you for participating in our targeted study of winter monarch behavior across the Southeastern U.S. Your data will help assess changes in monarch distribution.

From the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Estela Romero provides a snapshot of monarch behavior this week at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Migration appears to be beginning at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary. 

Letter from Estela Romero: The Season At It’s Best!

Carta de Estela Romero: La temporada en su máximo esplendor!

Travel to the Monarch Biosphere Reserve without leaving home. Five new videos have been posted to the Journey North YouTube Channel.

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

Western Monarch Population

Gail Morris writes that “Monarchs are rapidly leaving their winter homes along the California coast on their journey to the summer breeding areas. They are mating and laying eggs as they move through the Western landscape. But a late-season cold storm front may present a challenge.”  Stephanie Turcotte reports that from February 16th to February 23rd, 2024, observations in Pacific Grove, CA, revealed notable shifts in monarch butterfly behavior and population from previous years. Diana Magor reports monarch behavior during the period from February 15th to February 22nd, 2024.  observations at Lighthouse Field revealed fluctuations in monarch butterfly numbers and behaviors. 

2024 Spring Letter #2: 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!