Migration Monitoring Sites
The Value of Collecting Long-term Data

Imagine counting the stream of butterflies passing over your head each day during the entire fall season! Daily observations at monitoring sites such as Cape May and Chincoteague (say ?chink-o-teeg?) are providing a new view of migration. Find them on this map.

These annual migration counts are providing a long-term record of migration patterns. Both sites are migration hotspots because they?re located at the tip of peninsulas. Monarchs often congregate on these peninsulas. They wait until the wind is right before risking the long over-water crossing.

What time of year is the migration strongest in each place? Are there more or fewer monarchs this year than last? How does migration compare at the two sites?

See what can you learn from this migration data:

Try This! Journaling Questions

Sample Graph
using Cape May Migration Data

1) Make a line graph using the data collected at each site. Show how many monarchs per hour were counted each week during each fall season. Use a different color of line for each year.

2) Does the migration appear to peak each year during any particular week?

3) List the years in order, from the strongest to weakest migration seasons.

4) To date, in which year was the monarch migration through Chincoteague the strongest?

5) In which year were the fewest monarchs seen?

6) Do you think the migration monitoring data is an accurate tool for comparing monarch numbers from year to year? What factors might affect the counts, so that the monarch population might seem higher or lower than it actually is?

National Science Education Standards

Science as Inquiry
Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting). (K-4)

Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world. Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4)

Use math in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (5-8)

Life Science
The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and by external cues (such as a change in the environment). (K-4)

National Math Standards

Data Analysis and Probability
Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.