Spring's Journey North
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North News was posted on Fridays:
Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, Mar 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Apr.
7, 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26 ...and weekly until the migration is
June 9, 2006
Monarch sightings continued to fly in last week but most were about
observations that were made the week before. Most
of the news came from Canada this week, the final nation on the
monarch's international tri-national tour. Monarchs
are now being seen in the nation's capital, by people who speak
the third language a monarch might overhear, and by students across
the land. How much father north will they travel?
June 2, 2006
Our international network of observers added a record 166 monarchs
to the map this week. Over half of the season’s sightings
took place during one single week! The monarch population builds
during the breeding season with each generation. When the monarchs
migrate to Mexico next fall their numbers will be at their highest.
May 26, 2006
What a week! The winds were finally right and the monarchs set sail.
Jet stream patterns had kept north winds and cold temperturares
in place for days. The migration's leading edge lags behind in the
East. But the GRANDCHILDREN of the monarchs from Mexico are now
being born. Let's see what happens in the week ahead.
May 19, 2006
Monarchs have arrived at 45 degrees N! Sightings are still at a
low, but this week brings a handful more. Some monarchs reported
in good shape, others are faded from long journeys north. Will the
monarchs flood northward in the next two weeks? Will the milkweed
be ready for the females to lay their eggs? Come back next week
for a full report.
May 12, 2006
Another quiet week has passed. We predict the monarchs will flood
northward in the next two weeks as more fresh butterflies emerge.
Only 8 new sightings were reported, yet they include a mystery for
you to solve. Have you ever watched a monarch butterfly emerge from
its chrysalis? How does the monarch manage to get out of the tight
chrysalis that surrounds it?
Monarch Butterfly Migration continues...Other
Journey North migrations have come to an end but we'll continue to
track the monarchs. Watch for updates each Friday until
the end of June.
(Also, see real-time
May 5, 2006
The migration's leading edge has now advanced to 42N and the first
butterflies have crossed into Canada!
by the first of May each year, most of the millions of monarchs
from Mexico have died. Today's map probably shows how far the monarchs
from Mexico will travel this year. How long did they live and how
far north did the farthest monarch travel?
April 28, 2006
Everybody’s talking about early monarchs! A record early-sighting
in Michigan put the leading edge of the migration at 42N last Friday.
Where were the monarchs last year at this time? Look at the week-by-week
migration maps from spring 2005 and 2006. Compare how far the migration
had advanced each week. Describe how the migrations are similar
and how they are different. But watch your language!
April 21, 2006
The monarchs in the East have passed those in the Midwest. Are they
coming up from Mexico? Monarchs are arriving just as the milkweed
appears. This close timing concerns students in Cub Run, KY. "There
are lots of flowers for a hungry monarch, but no milkweed for the
babies." Watch a caterpillar feast in this video clip and you'll
see why they worry! Also, compare and contrast the migrations of
monarchs and hummingbirds, both are flower-powered migratory species.
April 14, 2006
The migration's leading edge has now advanced to 39N, far beyond
its position at 36N just one week ago. How many miles is that? And
how many miles per day did it advance, on average? We now know that
one female monarch can lay over 750 eggs. What happens to them all?
Dr. Brower shares a fascinating observation, and speculates what
drives female monarchs to migrate. Do ONLY females migrate, another
April 7, 2006
The migration surged ahead last week exactly as predicted, and the
leading edge is now approaching 36N. The first fresh, new monarchs
sighted in Arkansas say the next generation has begun to appear.
These new monarchs will continue the journey north in place of their
parents. Meanwhile, the egg-count from Arkansas’ Ms. Monarch
now stands at 708! Speaking of eggs, what’s the most interesting
thing Dr. Brower knows about them?
March 31, 2006
Strong south winds on a hot humid day did it: "The Monarchs
are now in Oklahoma!" proclaimed an observer there. The cold
air parked over the eastern US for a full week, affected hummingbirds
as well as monarchs. Compare the animated maps in today's update
and explore how weather and migration are related. Also Ms. Monarch
is back, after just having laid her 551st egg. Predict when her
first child will become an adult.
March 24, 2006
a very unusual winter, an unusual migration pattern is appearing.
Look at the East Coast! Monarchs are appearing on the map out of
order, at least according to every science book ever written. Also,
do you know how many eggs a single can monarch lay? With the gracious
help of Dr. Jim Edson, Ms. Monarch will be our volunteer. Check
out her egg-laying calendar so far, then send your prediction.
Photo: Don Davis
March 17, 2006
As you will read today, millions upon millions of monarchs are coming
your way! Within days the monarchs are vacating the colonies in Mexico.
"I'm amazed by how quickly they departed!" said Dr. Lincoln
Brower. How far have the monarchs traveled so far? What will happen
next? It's time to make your first weekly predictions.
Why should we care about monarchs? Over 100 people sent their ideas.
Are you ready to be inspired? Read on!
They’re on their way! Monarchs streamed through town by the
millions, flying north from the overwintering sites in Mexico. Reports
arrived from the Mexican states of Queretaro and Guanajuato, too--and
even from central Texas. Spring monarch migration is officially underway!
But look at this map of winter monarch sightings and read a story
about an amazing discovery in Virginia. Why are so many
monarchs so far north so early in
the spring? This promises to be a fascinating spring migration.
March 3, 2006
many monarchs are in Mexico this year? The news is in! Scientists
say this year’s population is almost three times larger than
last year’s. Like a snapshot in time, they estimate the size
of the entire overwintering population each winter. But how do the
scientists make these estimates? Look carefully at their methods.
Then try your skill at this challenging task!
Also, Dr. Bill Calvert reports from Mexico that the colonies have
begun to break up. Why does this happen every year at this time?
February 24, 2006
Dr. Bill Calvert was one of the first biologists to study the monarchs
at their over-wintering sites in Mexico. For the next three weeks
he will be our special telephone tour guide. "A river of monarchs
streaming down from the mountains greeted us," he began. Why
were so many butterflies flying on Tuesday? This week, we also look
at water in the winter habitat. We consider the theory that monarchs
can survive without food and how scientist know what they know.
February 17, 2006
Monarchs can survive the 5-month winter eating little or no food
at all. "Because their bodies slow down," says Gaby, a
2nd grade student, just like an expert. Learn about cold-blooded
creatures this week. Then consider the impossibility of 50 million
monarchs finding flowers in their winter habitat.
Brrrr...It can be cold in Mexico! Most people assume the monarchs
fly to Mexico to spend the winter in a place that is warm. Last
week we saw pictures of people wearing hats and mittens there. Why
is it so cold? The monarch's mountains are nearly two miles high.
Explore how elevation and temperature are related, and why temperature
conditions are key to monarch survival.
February 3, 2006
to Journey North's spring monarch migration season! We begin each
year while the monarchs are still at the overwintering sites, deep
in central Mexico. The monarch’s story of survival during the
winter months in Mexico is as spectacular as their incredible migration.
the coming weeks, we’ll look at the monarch’s winter habitat,
and the adaptations monarchs have for survival.
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