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Explore This Week's Observations: Week Ending Sep. 17, 2009

Where was the migration strongest?
Each person below measured the pace of migration they witnessed. It's hard to compare these observations. However, if you use standard units of measurement, like monarchs per hour, you can suddenly see similarities and differences.

  • Identify the number of monarchs each person saw.
  • Identify the number of hours each person was watching.
  • Figure out how many "monarchs per hour" each person saw.

Now that you have standards units, can you identify where the migration was strongest? What can you learn by comparing the observations?

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


Observations from Citizen Scientists

9/15/09 Ithaca, New York (42N, -77W)
We saw one monarch headed south over our playground today! We were watching for 45 minutes.

9/16/09 Mason City, Iowa (43N, -93W)
Four Oaks School 5th grade students went out to the windbreak for 30 minutes to tag monarchs and sighted 21 in that short time. They were flying southerly, stopping to rest, eat and drink. Our weather has been unseasonably warm, so there are many stragglers this year!

9/13/09 Iola, Kansas (38N, -95W)
My two best friends and I were playing at the park when we saw four monarchs fluttering about eating nectar. Then more and more monarchs came until we saw altogether about 13. We kept watching and over the next hour and a half they all flew away going west.

9/9/09 Clemson, South Carolina (35N, -83W)
My classmates and I saw 2 monarch butterflies while conducting an Ecology field exercise at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens adjacent to Clemson University. We were watching for 40 minutes.

9/14/09 Claymo, Missouri
Observed twenty monarchs in twenty minutes. They were heading west with the wind.

9/10/09 Mequon, Wisconsin (43N, -88W)
Concordia University Wisconsin Bioology students observed 49 monarchs migrating past our Lake Michigan lakefront campus. We were watching for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

9/11/09 Milwaukee, WI
Monarchs moving through the Audubon Nature Center again today. We counted 46 in thirty minutes. Most stop to feed in the prairie which is located on a terrace above Lake Michigan, there were fewer in the prairies further west. My observation time: I was watching for 30 minutes.

9/10/09 Milwaukee, WI
We observed 33 monarchs passing by and dropping off in the prarie to feed on sunflowers and goldenrod on the grounds of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. We are very close to Lake Michigan, and I think they use the thermals of the lake to move south. My observation time: I was watching for 30 minutes.

9/10/09 Bird Island, MN
Driving from my home in Bird Island towards the Twin Cities, I was delighted to observe approximately 45 butterflies migrating straight South. I was traveling due East at 65 mph and encountered a butterfly or two every minute for over half an hour. Once it stopped I only saw five more monarchs for the rest of my 100 mile trip. It was simply delightful! My observation time: I was watching for 30 minutes.


Don't Forget!
When you report your own migration sightings, please include standard units of measurement.

Tell us how many monarchs per hour (or monarchs per minute) you see!