Migration Update: September 21, 2007
Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

Today's Report Includes:

How much farther must these monarchs fly? >>

The Migration: Maps, Questions and Highlights



Distribution Map >>

About these maps >>


Make your own map >>

Map Questions >>

Highlights: Coming Down the Mountains and Along the Coast

The Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains are striking geographic features in the East, and the monarchs encountered them in full force this week:

The Atlantic Coast
Monarchs can be swept toward the Atlantic Ocean by strong winds. This can be dangerous for monarchs but spectacular sightings often result:

9/16/07 Fire Island, NY (40.63 N, -73.34 W)
"For about 2 hours while I was on the beach, looking in any direction there were butterflies visable, all heading west. I am sure there were hundreds,and possibly a few thousand butterflies that passed us as we sat at the beach. People were just standing and staring. It was quite amazing...I have never seen anything like it, ever!" (More > >)

You can follow research this fall at two study sites on the Atlantic Coast. Both sites are positioned where the land and ocean funnel the butterflies, and concentrate them in large numbers. The Cape May Monarch Census reported an average of 42.95 monarchs/hour during its first week. See:

The Appalachian Mountains
Monarchs can fly effortlessly along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains toward Mexico when the wind is right. The migration peaked at 40N in Pennsylvania along the Appalachian Mountains last week when 2,000+ monarchs were seen in a single day at the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch site. Meanwhile, down the mountain chain at 35N, good numbers of monarchs are beginning to appear:

9/19/07 Asheville, NC (35.59 N, -82.56 W)
"This evening from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, we counted roughly 300 monarchs sailing through Tunnel Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway."

The Central Region: Down to Latitude 38 North
The leading edge of the migration did not advance far last week in the Central region. This may be due to the week's weather-mix of cold, rain and south winds. People are seeing monarchs in Missouri and Kansas, but they are eagerly waiting for a big push.

In Cape Girardeau, MO, Ms. Karnes students are counting monarchs during their 20 minute recess every day. In Lake Ozark, MO, school bus driver Adrian White is counting monarchs as he travels his route. "Another day of few monarchs. Only 6 from 11am to 4:30," he reported on September 20th. Let's see what they find next week.

The Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains are striking geographic features in the East. Both affect the monarch migration.


Migration Rate Math

As the monarchs funnel toward Mexico, the numbers overhead become greater and greater. Each week we collect sightings so you can compare them.

Who will see the record flight for fall 2007?

Slideshow: Why Are the Monarchs Standing in the Road? >>

It was peak migration and monarchs were abundant. But something was unusual. Everybody who saw the butterflies wondered, "Why are the monarchs standing in the road?"

This week, explore an unusual observation and think like a scientist. Then see how monarch butterfly expert Dr. Lincoln Brower explains the puzzling observation.

Why Are the Monarchs Standing in the Road?  >>

Challenge Question #4: Where Did the Monarchs Come From? 

This week's question:

  • Where do you think the hundreds of monarchs that were flying on the shore of New York's Fire Island came? Read the story, explore the maps, and answer this week's question.

To respond: Write in your journal and send us your answer for possible inclusion in next week's update.

Answer to last week's question

Challenge Question #3 >>

Links: This Week's Monarch Resources
  • Orientation: Welcome to new participants! >>
  • Go Outside! Watch how monarch butterfly habitat is changing!>>
  • Geography and Migration: Why does the migration hug the Atlantic Coast? >>
  • Citizen Science in Action: Migration Research on the Atlantic Coast >>
  • Migration Rate Math: Who will see the strongest migration this fall? >>
  • Activity: How much farther must this monarch fly? >>
  • Monarchs for Kids (booklets, photos, videos) >>
  • Book and Slideshow: The Magic of Monarch Migration >>
More Monarch Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on September 28, 2007.