Video: Courtesy of Adele Hendricks via Youtube
Each fall, the Monarch butterflies – renowned as the king of butterflies – migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and the US to warmer climates of Mexico. The Monarch migration usually begins with the onset of autumn around October of each year, but it can start earlier if the weather turns cold sooner than that.
The butterflies spend their winter hibernating in clusters at the Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve), a national protected area and nature preserve in Michoacán, Mexico.
Annually as many as 60 million to one billion monarchs make this journey of over 2500 miles across the rocky mountains to west central Mexico. Their arrival is a magical spectacle that brings in tourists and nature lovers from across the world, and coincides with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), one of Mexico’s most important holidays.
Many questions remain unanswered about the fall migration of the monarch population east of the Rocky Mountains. How do the monarchs move across the continent- taking specific directions or take certain pathways? Is the migration influenced by the weather? And are there differences in the migration path from year to year?
To gather this data, volunteer taggers across the country participate in Monarch tagging and tracking events. This project is also a good way to introduce children to the magnificent Monarchs and have them contribute to a scientific study. Participation in this project also hopes to further interest in the conservation of habitats critical to the survival of the monarch butterfly and its migrations.
To learn how you can get involved in the Monarch tagging and conservation efforts, please click here. There are tagging events starting September at Cape May Point State Park, NJ, Lawrence, KS, Northern Great Lakes, WI, Blank park Zoo, IA, Lake Michigan, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, MA. So go ahead and find a tagging event near you to meet the amazing Monarchs.