Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Monarch feeding on nectar. Photo courtesy of Rodney Campbell/Creative Commons.

Monarch feeding on nectar. Photo courtesy of Rodney Campbell/Creative Commons.

Tracking the Monarch’s Journey North

How do we know when summer has taken hold in the Midwest? After the lilacs blossoms have come and gone and the last of the songbirds have migrated north to breed, we look for the return of monarch butterflies in our gardens, fields and prairies.

Monarch butterflies have been on the the move north since early March and entered into Texas about a month later in April. While each migration is different in terms of where overwintering monarchs decide to lay their first eggs for the summer season and where that first generation is successful, there is a general trend that happens each year and monarch enthusiasts pay close attention.

You can check out the latest in sightings at Journey North, where citizen scientists from across North America have been cataloging their sightings - everything from first returning adult monarch and new milkweed growth, to the first egg and larva sightings.

The Journey North reports for early May showed a lull between monarch generations which tends to happen around this time of the migration each year. In addition to tracking the returning overwintering monarchs, you can also watch the progression of the first monarch larvae across the continent.

Have you seen monarch activity in your part of the country? Report your sightings!

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/SpringWatch.html

By Tina Shaw
Regional Office - External Affairs

Last updated: June 4, 2015