Do Monarchs Migrate Across the Gulf of Mexico?
Contributed by Mr. Don Davis

Evidence that monarchs MIGHT cross the Gulf of Mexico


  • We know that monarchs can cross large bodies of water. Monarchs are seen by boaters crossing Lake Ontario, for example.
  • There have been sightings of groups of monarchs roosting on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. When I flew over the Gulf in 1997, I was amazed at the number of oil rigs and other platforms in the Gulf. Thus, there are many opportunities for tired monarchs to rest!
  • Also, famous monarch biologist Dr. Fred Urquhart reported seeing monarchs flying in off the Gulf of Mexico as he stood on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Recoveries of Tagged Monarchs:

  • I have tagged monarchs in Presqu'ile, Ontario that were recovered directly across Lake Ontario at Rochester, New York. That's a distance of nearly 50 miles.
  • I had a tagged monarch recovered on an oil rig in the Gulf, about 100 miles south of Galveston, Texas.
  • Ted McDonald of Port Hope, Ontario, had his Port Hope tagged monarch recovered in Havana, Cuba (Urquhart tag - 1960's). Port Hope is on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The distance to Cuba is about 1,500 miles.