When you see Monarch Butterflies this time of year there’s a sense of seriousness to their behavior and flight. No longer do they dawdle at this flower or that, tasting this petal or that leaf. No longer do they flitter about following scents. No, now their flight is strong and their purpose clear – refuel, add fat reserves and head to Mexico…ensure the future of their species.
I love watching Monarchs at all times of year but fall is an incredible time to watch them. We put a small iron compass rose in the middle of our lawn because I was so intrigued in watching their accuracy. I’ll watch a Monarch after a drink of nectar float over our garden and head precisely due South. It’s amazing to see. You can see this while driving as well. Headed home after work on the toll road, I head west as the Monarchs fly perpendicular to the roadway. Whenever I see them on this amazing flight I whisper a wish to them for safe journeys…all the way to Mexico…and then send your babies back!
As you see Monarchs fly through Loudoun this fall, help scientists and conservationists track their progress and see what the wave of migration flight is looking like as it moves across our country and into Mexico!
Click here to report your sightings: http://www.learner.org/cgi-bin/jnorth/jn-sightings
(If you’re new to reporting sightings, you’ll need to register with Journey North first – it helps them control spammers etc.) Register here:
Click here to view the migration maps (and then explore the site further to see where people have reported the incredible overnight roosts where thousands of Monarchs congregate along their journey: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/monarch_f08_all.html
If you see a Monarch butterfly, just log on to the website above and enter your sighting – it will then show up as a mark on the migration map as we watch the butterflies travel on this amazing journey! It also provides important data for those monitoring Monarchs both here in the US and in Mexico as populations are tracked.
For teachers – there are great activities on the Journey South Website above – great opportunities and materials to share with students.