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Explore This Week's Observations: Week Ending Sep. 10, 2009

Observations Lead to Questions!
Read the first-hand monarch observations below. As you read, think about these questions:

  • What observations did each person make?
  • What questions did their observations raise?
  • Which of the observers formed a hypothesis to try to explain their observation?

Think: Observation > Question > Hypothesis

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

Observations from Citizen Scientists

9/3/09 Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA (43N, -88W)
Most monarchs I have seen have been flying west (from Wisconsin). Do they make their way to the Mississippi River and then glide down south?

9/8/09 Stuart, Iowa, USA (42N, -94W)
We have seen a few monarchs flying around but none roosting yet. We have about 15-20 Eastern Screech Owls in our trees this year. I am wondering if that—or the occasional vultures—would have anything to do with the lack of the monarchs this year.

9/3/09 Oakville, Ontario, Canada (44N, -80W)
I went back to Oakville, Ontario, for a third day in a row. I saw fewer monarchs than the previous two days, but I collected 58 in two hours. Lovely warm temperatures - 75 F and almost no wind. Perhaps the lack of wind slows down the migration?

9/4/09 Lake Michigan, Michigan, USA (42N, -87W)
We often travel to Lake Michigan to go salmon fishing. While 5-7 miles from shore, we have seen MANY, MANY monarchs all heading WEST over the water!! Yesterday, we saw monarchs in the morning as well as later in the evening (from 6-8 p.m.). I wonder, what do the monarchs that we saw late in the evening roost on? I have seen 1-2 monarchs on the water - flat out and then they will make a "kiss" sound as they rise into the air!!!

9/4/09 Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico (25N, -101W)
English: You informed yesterday that you have reports of monarch butterflies monarch, which I agree in which them the queens and painted ladies can confuse with monarchs but today I saw a monarch! Could it be a local butterfly, or are the first already passing?
Español: Informaste ayer que tienes reportes de mariposas monarca en Texas, estoy de acuerdo en que las pueden confundir con las reinas y damas pintadas. Pero ¡ Hoy vi una monarca! ¿Será local o ya están pasando las primeras?

9/4/09: Greenburg, Indiana, USA (39N, -85W)
Hundreds of monarch butterflies were sighted in the trees on our 1-acre property. It was approximately 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. We were wondering why they were here and our investigations led us to your web site.

8/26/09 Guelph, Ontario, Canada (44N, -80W)
I only spotted a few monarchs as we drove along. Is it too early? Are numbers down considerably?

9/5/09 Austin, Texas, USA (30N, -98W)
I have witnessed and heard of overnight clustering along river and creek bottoms. How important are these areas to the migration? Can wetter riparian areas mitigate the effects of drought?

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

Did You Know?

Thousands of citizen scientists across the monarch's migration route are making real-time observations and sharing them instantly over the Internet.

These observations can be valuable to professional scientists. Imagine how hard it would be to collect this information without the help of so many people.