Migration Update: September 4, 2008 Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

Monarchs Moving Out! Large Roosts Reported in North
Monarchs rested last week in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa during their long migration to Mexico. With over a thousand miles left to fly they formed large roosts and waited for winds that would carry them southward. A research team in Michigan watched a roost break up on the morning of August 25th:

"There were around 400 monarchs on three different trees. Temperatures were around 50 degrees that night, so the monarchs were slow to leave the next morning. But, with perfect wind conditions, they started heading south before noon. We could stand at the end of the peninsula and watch the monarchs flying south over Lake Michigan."

Sightings of Overnight Roost from Citizen Scientists
What facts can you learn about the amazing overnight roosts that monarch form during fall migration? Read the details people provided this week:

A Small Population?
The migration map of overnight roosts shows a cluster of roosts in the Upper Midwest. Still not a single roost has been reported from Canada! There have been 14 roosts reported now, but last year at this time there had been over 80. Will sightings pick up over the next week as more monarchs grow into adults and join the migration? Or are these true signs of a small population? In July, monarch scientist Dr. Chip Taylor predicted the size of this winter's population will be lower than last year's measurement of 4.61 hectares.
How do you predict this winter's population will compare? (See graph to right.)

Another Chance: New Generation in Southern States
Amid worries about a small monarch population comes this reminder: Monarchs will lay eggs across the southern United States this fall. Those offspring will grow into adults and join the migration. This will add another generation to the population. Let's hope conditions will be just right, with plenty of milkweed for the young monarchs to eat, and few predators to eat the monarchs!

Please Report Your Sightings!
Watch for monarchs that are flying in "directional flight," resting at overnight roosts, or refueling at flowers in fields, gardens, or roadsides.


Can you identify a monarch butterfly? >>




For Your Journal
Explore this week's sightings!




How Many Monarchs in Mexico This Year?

The monarch population is measured each winter in Mexico. This graph shows data from the past 14 years. How do you predict this winter's population will compare to those in past years?


The Migration: Maps, Data and Questions

Fall Roosts


PEAK Migration


ALL Monarch
Migration Sightings


Distribution Map >>

About these maps >>


Make your own map >>

This Week's Map Questions >>

Guided Tour for Using Journey North in the Classroom: Getting Started

Do You Know a Monarch When You See One?
This week: Prepare your students for their role as citizen scientists by cultivating their observation and identification skills. Help them to positively identify a monarch butterfly by its distinctive field marks and unique characteristics. Students observe, measure, draw, and describe monarchs. Teachers can reward students who demonstrate their skills and achievements with the special Journey North Citizen Scientist Certificate of Excellence that's included in this Teacher Guide..


Build a Travel Journal
As you embark on your journey with the monarchs, invite students to begin building travel journals. Page by page, students collect and reflect on their observations and learning experiences. The journal is a workplace where students document discoveries, explore ever-changing events, record compelling questions, and chronicle each step of their scientific journey. Here are the first pages:

Related Journey North Lessons and Links

Monarch Butterfly Migration Updates Will be Posted on THURSDAYS: Aug. 28, Sep. 4, 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6...or until the monarchs reach Mexico!

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on September 11, 2008.