Midwest Region Conserving the nature of America

Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Making room for monarchs: Agencies, businesses apply to join historic conservation agreement

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed
A monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed. Photo by Anna Weyers/USFWS.

It’s always easier to resolve a problem before it becomes an emergency, and the same can be said for helping plants and animals before they approach the threat of extinction. Continental populations of monarchs have declined over the past 20 years, raising concerns about their future and prompting us at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to explore ways to help. The Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands, launched in April, encourages transportation and energy partners to provide and maintain monarch habitat on potentially millions of acres of rights-of-way and associated lands.

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The monarch super generation and their phenomenal migration

A monarch butterfly resting in the sun on sumac
A monarch butterfly resting on sumac. Photo by Brett Billings/USFWS.

As summer is coming to a close, we have something special for you to watch and celebrate. Mid-August marks the start of fall migration for millions of monarch butterflies. Adult monarchs are partway through their lifecycle, but their reproduction is on hold. These monarchs are different from their parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. Previous generations completed their life cycle in four weeks. Each of these previous generations migrated north, resulting in four generations over the course of the summer. Butterflies in this last generation are members of the generation that migrates south, often called the monarch super generation.

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The oldest known common loons find continued success at Seney National Wildlife Refuge

A pair of common loons offer food to their week-old chick
Common loons offer food to their week-old chick. Photo courtesy of Laura Wong.

A common loon’s iconic wail provides the summer soundtrack to northern waters. Their striking black and white breeding plumage and impressive ability to dive for fish captivates all who are lucky enough to spot them. We want to tell you about one particularly impressive pair of common loons - a pair that’s made up of both of the oldest known common loons in the world.

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How do birds keep cool in the summer?

An American robin splashes in a bird bath.
An American robin splashes in a bird bath. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.

Do you ever wonder how birds stay cool on hot summer days? We want to share some insights! Like people, birds can withstand changes in the weather and maintain their body temperature whether it’s hot or cold outside, but there are limits. When summer temperatures are on the rise, birds depend on adaptations to keep from overheating.

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