|Dozens of butterflies are mobbing favorite nectar sources and hundreds are resting at overnight roosts. Fall migration is approaching its peak in the north central region, where the largest numbers are now being reported.
The increased number and size of fall roosts provide an example. Already, 13 roosts have been reported compared to only 2 at this time last year. The largest so far had over 500 monarchs. Keep a close eye on roost reports as the migration progresses. They'll provide an early indication of overwintering numbers.
All signs point to a larger population this year than last. Since June, people across the monarch's breeding range have reported positive indications.
"We have seen monarchs every day since mid-June, at least one and up to 5! This hasn't happened in at least 4 years! We are excited to see what the fall migration will bring."
Jim Langhus Monona, Iowa
A Population Prediction
Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch
expects the population to be at least 1.4 hectares this winter, twice as large as last year. However, he cautions:
"Unless we collectively address the annual loss of habitat with a significant recovery plan that restores at least 1-1.5 million acres of milkweed/monarch habitat per year – the eastern monarch migration will dwindle further to the point where it will be truly threatened."
A Celebrated Migration
As monarchs fly silently overhead people look skyward, hoping to witness one of our world's most celebrated migrations. Among them are thousands of students across hundreds of miles, extending from Canada to Mexico. A 3rd grade boy caught the migration in Iowa this week:
"Maclayn spotted our first monarch and told me during class. He saw it flying over the school playground area, traveling south."
9/2/14 Mondamin, Iowa