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Monarchs Starting To Leave Mexico

The Monarchs’ migration north has begun! We are not the only part of the world that is experiencing unusually high temperatures — there has been a heat wave in Mexico this spring where the Monarchs overwinter, and it has them on the move, leaving their sanctuaries and beginning the more than 2,000 mile journey to New England.

This overwintering generation of Monarchs lays eggs in northern Mexico and southern U.S. and then dies.  When their eggs hatch and develop into adults, usually by late April to early June, they continue the journey north that their parents began, laying eggs along the way.  They begin to arrive in northern U. S. and southern Canada in late May.

To follow their progress northward, go to Journey North’s site, https://maps.journeynorth.org/map/?year=2020&map=monarch-adult-first.  Although we probably won’t see any Monarchs in New England until the end of May at the earliest, it’s fun to be able to see exactly how far they have gotten as spring progresses.  Journey North citizen scientists also monitor mammals, amphibians and birds.  To participate in their research or to see their observations go to https://journeynorth.org/.

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10 responses

  1. Alice

    That’s a very handsome male! I’m so looking forward to Milkweed growing & hosting Monarchs. Last year I captive raised 46. It was my first time…what a wonderful experience, from watching Mommy Monarch lay eggs, to teeny caterpillars with big appetites, chrysalises being made and watching the beauties eclose.

    March 11, 2020 at 8:41 am

  2. Jon Binhammer

    Based on the video at the following link, it appears this could be a female, Alice.
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+to+tell+male+monarchs+from+female&view=detail&mid=EF27CF5C758E39EE9F38EF27CF5C758E39EE9F38&FORM=VIRE

    March 11, 2020 at 10:49 am

    • I agree, Jon. Love the “singing zoologist!” Thanks!

      March 11, 2020 at 11:30 am

  3. kathiefive

    Well, at least something hopeful is happening in the world!!

    March 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

  4. Jean Harrison

    Looks like a female to me. Broad black bands at veins.

    March 11, 2020 at 1:54 pm

  5. Alice

    I was looking at the black ‘dot.’

    March 11, 2020 at 2:38 pm

  6. Ruby Rodriguez

    Very cool, Mary!

    On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 4:32 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “The Monarchs’ migration north has begun! We are not > the only part of the world that is experiencing unusually high temperatures > — there has been a heat wave in Mexico this spring where the Monarchs > overwinter, and it has them on the move, leaving their s” >

    March 11, 2020 at 3:04 pm

  7. Susannah

    As these beautiful creatures take flight for their return journey northward, I’d like to honor the two butterfly protectors at Mexico’s El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary recently found dead within one week of each other, as reported on last month by NPR (Feb. 3, “Sadness And Worry . . . ” ), UNESCO (Jan. 31, “Sadness and Concern . . . “), and other news organizations.

    Environmental activist Homero Gomez Gonzalez was found after being missing for two-weeks; an autopsy determined his death was caused by forcible drowning in an agricultural pond, after head trauma. Raul Hernandez Romero, a tour guide at the preserve, was found after being missing five days, bruised and with head trauma from a sharp object. (Please excuse lack of accent-marks above the names.)

    El Rosario is part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008. These forests are under threat from illegal logging and “clandestine” avocado farming, among other business interests. Preserves and environmentalists also face violence from gangs. We know that ecologists, conservationists, and all advocates for and protectors of nature face obstacles and dangers globally. We have the joy of experiencing the success of their advocacy personally, locally. At least some of the monarchs in which we will delight, here in New England this summer, are likely the offspring of Gonzalez’s and Romero’s work in El Rosario. I have deep gratitude for all who risk their peace of mind, safety, and even their lives, speaking up and acting in support of all the inhabitants of our beautiful planet.

    Thank you, Mary, for Naturally Curious.

    March 11, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    • Thank you, Susannah, for your eloquent and poignant tribute to these men and all protectors of the natural world. We are so fortunate that there are people who care so much.

      March 11, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    • Peggy Emerson

      But the trees they winter upon probably will have been stolen by the murderers by the time they return, then how will they survive the winter???

      March 11, 2020 at 11:01 pm

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