Searching for tagged monarch butterflies at their annual overwintering sites 🦋
Monarch butterflies from the northwest US to the western Rockies begin making their way toward warmer weather around September and usually arrive at their destinations some time in November. For populations from these regions, the central and southern coast of California will do. Sounds like humans on vacation to me!
The overwintering portion of the annual monarch migration only occurs over one generation of butterflies during the entire migration cycle, which consists of at least four generations. It's an opportune time to tag this generation of butterflies with a small, lightweight sticker before they begin their flight south-southwest. Butterfly watchers and scientists of different sorts will take note of when and where they see tagged butterflies along the path of migration. This helps identify migration routes, population health, weather influences, and critical habitats for conservation.
This unique, beloved, and important species' population is on average decreasing while their habitats shrink due to development, logging, and other environmental concerns. If you're interested in conservation or just want to learn more, visit The Xerces Society website. There is plenty of info on there 🙂