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Comparing Migration Pathways

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Compare this fall's migration pathways to those in previous years.
You can continue to follow the migration on this live map.

"Holy cow!" exclaimed one monarch expert after seeing the most recent migration map. In an unusual turn of events, monarch roosts appeared last week across western Kansas, and even northwestern Oklahoma and Texas. This is nearly 200 miles west of the pathway the monarchs traditionally travel, based on data collected over the past seven years and shown on the map above. The monarchs are near the Colorado border, and are already west of the overwintering sites in Mexico. (Notice the location of the overwintering region, at longitude 100 W). Why are the monarchs so far west? Did the unusual east winds in the Central Plains over the past few weeks blow them there? Are they finding suitable habitat in this western landscape, which is typically quite dry? What will happen next? Will they continue to move westward, or will they drop down straight south into west Texas? Mountains, deserts, forests, and oceans also influence the monarch's traditional migration pathways. This fall, large numbers of monarchs are migrating where only a few monarchs are usually seen. Something is out of the ordinary!

  • Predict: What pathway do you think the migration will follow across Texas and Mexico this year? Explain your reasoning.
  • Find out what happens! You can continue to follow the migration on this live map. Compare this fall's migration pathways to those in previous years.

 

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