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Explore This Week's Observations: Week Ending Aug. 27, 2009

Signs of Fall Monarch Migration!
It's only August, but people are already reporting signs of fall monarch migration. After watching carefully, they have noticed changes in the numbers of monarchs they see and changes in the monarchs' behavior. Read the first-hand observations below and think about these questions:

  • What evidence do the observers provide that the monarchs they see are migrating?
  • How do the observers try to measure the changes they see in monarch numbers and behavior?


For Your Journal:
Read this week's monarch sightings and record your thoughts.

Observations from Citizen Scientists

Monarchs resting in Buffalo Center, Iowa

August 24: Sauk Center, MN (46N, -95W)
Last night was the first night of this year that I have seen roosting monarchs in our yard. We had about 25 of them total, between 3 trees. In the few days before this, I had seen a few more monarchs around than I had previously, but no other signs. One monarch was fluttering around our "roosting tree" on August 19th, but I didn't see it land there, and it was the only one as far as I know.

August 20: Sartell, MN (46N, -94W)
I was looking out into the backyard and noted a couple of monarch flying around. I was on the phone at the time and just idly watched them as I chatted. Then I noted them landing on one of my trees. The area where they landed looked odd to me so I stepped out onto my deck to take a closer look. Imagine my surprise and delight when I realized that the odd shading on the tree was actually dozens of monarch butterflies that had landed and were perched on one of the branches. As I ventured closer, I realized that two of the branches of the tree were just loaded with monarchs. It was a blustery and rainy day here so I think they were landing here to dry.

August 21: Bird Island, MN (45N, -95W)
Migration is happening in Bird Island, MN. On August 21st I had several hundred Monarchs in my large farm yard. The pine trees in a sunny area of my grove were covered with Monarchs.

August 22: Olathe, Kansas (39 N, -95W)
During my son's football practice today I saw 6 monarchs flying south.

August 25: Ponca City, Oklahoma (37 N, -97W)
During my son's football practice today I saw 6 monarchs flying south.

August 21: Port Hope, Ontario (44N, -78W)
I go golfing 3 times a week in the morning and for the last 3 weeks I have been seeing many Monarchs going west along the Lake Ontario.

Can you find others?
Look for more signs that fall migration is underway!

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