Eastern Monarch Fall 2021 Report #5


Published: 10/13/2021

Note: Observations highlighted in this report are from October 1–7. To explore more recent observations, check out “The Leading Edge” section of the news update and explore our maps.

Central Flyway: Hotspots in Oklahoma and Texas

Oklahoma and Texas were hotspots of migratory activity as fall roosts and peak migration events were widely reported.

Mandi in Devol, OK: “There were hundreds of Monarch butterflies up high in the tree canopy. They have been here for 3 days … Roosting in Pecan trees. It is not protected from wind, although wind was light when reported. The number is estimated. It is the most I have ever seen in one place in my life.” (10/02/2021)

Pam in Denton, TX: “North winds brought in a lot of Monarchs to enjoy my Ageratum! I actually watched as Monarchs left my flowers at sundown & went to roost in the trees directly above. They roosted in clusters spread throughout my oak trees. It was an amazing thing to watch!” (10/05/2021)

 Kathleen in Midlothian, TX: “I started seeing a few Monarchs about a week ago. On the 6th I saw about 5 [monarchs] around 10 AM and 7 more about 5 PM. I have a lot of Liatris punctata (Gayfeather) in my field this year and they seem to love it.” (10/06/2021)

Numbers Increasing Along Eastern Flyway

Migration continued to build along the Eastern Flyway as more reports came in from the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Explore our PEAK Migration and Monarch Fall Roost maps to see how the Eastern Flyway often lags behind the Central Flyway in timing of migration. 

John in Cape May Point, NJ: “The past week, hundreds were migrating and roosting on the pine trees on the sand dunes. St. Peter’s Beach entrance walkway has been a popular sighting location, as other spots around the community.” (10/03/2021)

James in Cobb Island, MD: “Peak migration appears to be in its second week here in Maryland. Ran out of 350 tags last week and could have probably tagged another 300+ if I had more tags. Great to see a very good migration year.” (10/05/2021)

Denise in Traphill, NC: “Awesome Day !!! A record single count day for my husband and me. Partly sunny day with some heavy clouds ahead of a few days of rain. 76* with 5 SW breeze. 11:20-11:35 =20, 1:45-3:00 =176, and 4:30-7:00 =219. Many were seen without binoculars and at five to thirty feet off the ground.” (10/05/2021)

Still Reports Up North

Journey North citizen scientists in southern Ontario, the Midwest, and the Northeast still reported monarch activity, including roosting behavior and directional flight. With temperatures falling and daylight shortening, reports in these areas will continue to drop over the coming weeks.

Darlene in Leamington, ON: “[70 monarchs] at Point Pelee National Park before & at sunset at the Tip … All appeared pristine … There is still some fresh goldenrod & plenty of recently bloomed asters.” (10/01/2021)

Janet in Mattoon, IL: “Several colonies roosting. Most in white pines (as usual), a few in pin oak.” (10/03/2021)

J in Newburgh, IN: “I sat by the Ohio River and watched for 1/2 hour. In that 1/2 hour, 36 monarchs flew south over the river, one by one.” (10/04/2021)

Betsy in New Harbor, ME: “Pemaquid Point in Midcoast Maine still has a roost of Monarchs! Saw them all over the loop road and on West Strand … The overnight temperatures have been in mostly the 50s have dropped into the mid 40s once or twice. The wind direction changes all the time as it’s a peninsula. I believe I’ve estimated about 50 or more monarchs on my recent walks.” (10/06/2021)