Photo: JHVEPhoto (Shutterstock)
Like some people who live in the northern parts of the United States (or any part of Canada), monarch butterflies like to migrate south each winter. And who can blame them? It is difficult for us to live here in the cold, wet months, let alone with such thin wings.
And while we may say goodbye to the beautiful orange and black insects for part of the year, people in different parts of the country will have the opportunity to see them en route to warmer climes. Here’s what you should know about watching monarch butterflies as they migrate south.
Interesting facts about the autumn migration of the monarch butterflies
Every year between September and November, the monarch butterflies of North America make their way south – to two places. Corresponding Monarch watch, a nonprofit educational program focused on the monarch butterfly, the winged insects that travel west of the Rockies to small groups of trees along the California coast this summer. The monarchs who live east of the Rocky Mountains prefer mountain forests in Mexico.
When to look for wandering monarchs in your area
North American monarch butterflies don’t pick on a specific date each year and they all travel together: they base their fall departures on changes in temperature and the amount of daylight a given location receives.
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The easiest way to find out when the butterflies are going to roam your area is to use this chart, courtesy of Monarch watch:
If you don’t know your latitude right away, it’s a quick search away (ex. “Omaha Latitude”). And where does this data come from? Monarch Watch advises that these are general guidelines, rather than dates set in stone, that indicate when an appropriate number of monarchs should be observed at each latitude. Here is more:
These predictions come from reports to Monarch Watch, first-hand observations, and the records of thousands of tagged butterflies that have been recovered over the years. The migration record in specific locations for a given year may differ from this overall pattern, but it has proven remarkably consistent when viewed as a large-scale phenomenon.
You also have this handy map if you need some extra visual aid:
So check out the map, grab binoculars, and enjoy the butterflies.