Monarch Migration Update: November 1, 2002
Today's Report Includes:
Field Notes from the Monarch Sanctuary Region in Mexico
Maybe the monarchs won’t find the sanctuaries this year! Just think: They’re traveling to a place they’ve never been. They’re flying across the continent toward a tiny spot on the planet. Or so we believe... Do you think the monarchs will make it? By next week's update? We’ll see! Being there, watching the sky, is like waiting at the airport for someone special to arrive on an expected flight. Other than a few single sightings, the sky remains empty and silent.
Here are this week's observations from Angangueo, in both Spanish and English:
Highlights Along the Migration Trail
Exciting sightings occurred this week in Texas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon:
On the Texas Coast, the Aschens heard monarchs were abundant 130 miles up the coast on Tuesday. So Mr. Aschen went out on Wednesday and saw something spectacular: Thousands of monarchs per hour crossing Lavaca Bay.
At sunset, the butterflies stopped crossing and turned back, and Mr. Aschen made a discovery:
The Second Wave: Migration Along the Texas Coast
In Texas, the migration typically moves through on two different flyways, at two different times, or pulses. The first pulse travels down what's known as the central flyway and the second pulse moves along the coastal flyway. Do the monarchs on the central flyway arrive earlier, because they come from the Mid-western prairie states? Similarly, do the coastal Monarchs come later, from east of the Mississippi River, because they have to travel further? Do you think the Fall 2002 migration map reflects such a pattern?
Peak Migration in Coahuila and Nuevo Leon
10/28/02 Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
10/28/02 La Madrid, Coahuila
10/25/02 Saltillo, Coahuila
The Migration Pathway Through Mexico by Dr. Bill Calvert
Millions upon millions of butterflies are now traveling across Mexico toward the sanctuary region. Dr. Bill Calvert describes the migration pathway:
Print a copy of Dr. Calvert’s description of the migration pathway. On a map of Mexico, find and highlight each town he mentions. Make a list of all the towns and states.
How High? Discussion of Challenge Question #12
Last week Challenge Question #12 asked, "If a glider pilot has seen monarchs flying 11,000 feet in the air, how high is that in miles? In kilometers?"
Migration Paradox: Discussion of Challenge Question #13
Challenge Question #13 asked you to explain this paradox: Why might people sometimes see the FEWEST monarchs on the BEST migration days?"
Mrs. Nunnally's second grade class in Bedford, NH and Nick V. from Mrs. Lodge'sclass in Hebron, CT knew:
Great thinking! This is an important reminder: The information we have about migration is based ONLY on our observations. Before drawing conclusions, we have to consider what might be taking place that we cannot see!
Días de Los Muertos, Monarchs and Mexican Legend
Tonight when you are sleeping, many people in Mexico will be wide awake commemorating the “Días de los Muertos” (Days of the Dead). Rooted in the ancient Aztec tradition, and blended with Christianity, the holiday is a mix of customs and beliefs. The Mexican people honor and remember their ancestors, whose souls are believed to return to earth each year at this time. Some people spend the night at the cemetery, beside the graves of their loved ones. Rather than a time to mourn, this holiday is viewed as a time to remember. Only when we forget them, does a person really die, it’s said. Gifts and favorite foods are left for the returning souls on special alters called “ofrendas.”
In the mountains in Michoacan, some say the monarchs represent the returning souls of the dead. Every year, they see the butterflies arrive at the same time as the Días de los Muertos.
An even older tradition connects monarchs to the corn harvest. In Purepecha, an indigenous language of the region, the word for the "monarch" is the "harvester." For hundreds of years, the monarchs' arrival has told the native people that it's time to harvest the corn.
Haciendo pan de los muertos con la familia Moreño
The Moreño family shares their mountain home with the monarchs. You can see the El Rosario sanctuary on the mountain beyond their house. One November, Dr. Bill Calvert and I visited as the family was preparing for the Días de Los Muertos. Señora Moreño was baking special loaves of bread called “pan de los muertos” (bread of the dead) in her wood oven. We hope you’ll enjoy your visit!
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question
1. Address an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on November 8, 2002.
Copyright 2002 Journey
North. All Rights Reserved.