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Journey North News: Spring 2011

Posted Thursdays: Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, Mar. 3, 10, 17, 24, Apr. 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26, ...and weekly until the migration is complete!

Photo Gallery: Butterfly Eggs FINAL Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: June 16, 2011
Thank you for helping to track the monarch's spring migration! As the season draws to a close, we hope this week's slideshow inspires a trip outside to explore the secrets of monarchs in the milkweed patch. Let's go! Count monarchs per day this summer, and find out more ways to continue your outdoor observations.
Sightings per Week Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: June 9, 2011
Last winter, the monarchs were crowded into a few small sanctuaries. Look at the area they cover now! The migration has moved into Manitoba, and the northernmost monarchs have reached latitude 50° north. How much farther do you predict they'll travel? Photo: Steve Augustin
Creatures in the Milkweed Patch Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: June 2, 2011
Journey North's other migrations have come to an end, but the monarchs are still traveling! Watch for weekly updates until the migration is complete, sometime in late June. No matter when you see your first monarch, please report your sighting! This week, meet some of the monarch's neighbors. What kinds of creatures inhabit the milkweed patch, and which are the monarch's enemies?
Temperatures were much colder this week than last week. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: May 26, 2011
The migration continued to advance during the past week—slowly, steadily, and a little early. We're still waiting for the big surge in numbers to occur. Is the drought in Texas affecting timing this spring? Did drought drive the monarchs out of Texas early? Explore how data citizen scientists are collecting helps answer key questions like these. Finally, take a close-up look at some amazing adaptations: larvae legs! Photo: Pat Swerkstrom
  Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: May 19, 2011
(No report this week.)
Larva Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: May 12, 2011
Sailing on south winds, monarchs advanced dramatically during the past week. The migration entered 8 new states and the first Canadian province. Go monarchs! This week, compare a moth's migration to the monarch's. What can we learn from the corn earworm? Photo: Wikipedia
Temperatures were much colder this week than last week. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: May 5, 2011
The migration map has hardly changed in a week! The quiet was typical for the first week of May. New butterflies are on the wing, but not in the numbers we will soon see. This spring, people have been astonished by the monarch's ability to find milkweed, even the tiniest plants. What senses do monarchs have, and how do they use them to find milkweed? Photo: Maureen Raquet
Temperatures were much colder this week than last week. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 28, 2011
With cool temperatures across the north, the migration moved eastward instead of northward this week. While the number of sightings continues to fall, fresh-winged butterflies are also appearing. Check out the mystery monarch photos. Can you guess what the strange-looking objects do, based on how they look? Photo: Dr. Lincoln P. Brower, Sweet Briar College
Temperatures were much colder this week than last week. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 21, 2011
The monarchs from Mexico are reaching their final days, and a new generation is about to appear. Spring is a critical time for the monarch butterfly. This Earth Day, consider the monarch's need for renewal. Where is habitat most important in the early spring? A pie chart reveals clues. Photo: Harlen Aschen
Egg-loading on milkweed in Tennessee Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 14, 2011
Another week of warm temperatures and south winds sent monarchs sailing, this time into states where milkweed is just emerging. "Will there be enough milkweed for the hungry caterpillars?" everybody wanted to know. What observations could you make to answer that question?
Monarch butterfly nectaring on apple blossoms. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: April 7, 2011
Look at them go! The leading edge of the migration advanced more than 200 miles this week on powerful south winds and in unusually warm temperatures. Back in Mexico where the migration began, Estela finds the sanctuary nearly empty. How can people help migrating monarchs? Dr. Karen Oberhauser answers this question among the many submitted by our readers. Enjoy!
Monarch larvae on milkweed Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 31, 2011
Cold temperatures held the monarchs back last week, and our migration map is showing some surprises. Did the observer in North Carolina see a monarch? Review the evidence and vote! Visit an Angangueo school with a U.S. teacher, and think about preparing for Earth Day. Have you created habitat for monarchs? If so, tell us how your garden grows!
DepartureElRosario031009_04 Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 24, 2011
Monarchs are pouring out of Mexico now, and the leading edge of the migration has already entered Oklahoma. Picture a trail of eggs 1,000 miles long, stretching from Michoacan to Oklahoma. What happens to all of those eggs? This week, explore the challenges monarchs face that can impact the growth of the population.
Monarch Butterflies in flight at sanctuary in Mexico. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 17, 2011
Here they come! The mass migration from Mexico is underway, and monarchs are appearing on the breeding grounds to the north. Three cheers for the monarchs that survived the long winter in Mexico! During spring migration, each female monarch leaves a trail of eggs behind her as she travels. As you track monarch migration this spring, think of the hope embodied in tiny eggs.
Monarch Butterflies in flight at sanctuary in Mexico. Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 10, 2011
Waiting for signs of a mass migration—a grand exodus that could occur any day—Estela Romero found the sanctuary at El Rosario still butterfly-filled. The monarchs can't stay in Mexico much longer, but they can't move north too quickly either. This week, explore how seasonal change affects monarchs, and the timing of their spring migration.
Monarch Butterflies burst from colony. Michoacan, Mexico Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: March 3, 2011
Early-bird butterflies are heading north by now, and soon millions of monarchs will leave Michoacán en masse. Mexico's dry season is one of the pressures that forces butterfly colony break-up. Monarchs must have water, and their habitat is bone dry. Estela Romero shows how local people experience the dry season. How do Amy, Karla and César say families can conserve water?
Graph: Lipids Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: February 24, 2011
Spring migration is quickly approaching! The first U.S. sightings could appear by the end of next week. Where have millions of monarchs found the energy they needed to survive the winter? Also this week, Estela Romero tells what it's like to live in Angangueo's cold mountain environment the way the monarchs do. "Brrrrr!" she begins.
Monarch butterflies in sanctuary in Mexico Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: February 17, 2011
How many monarchs in Mexico this winter? Explore the data scientists just released. Find out how the monarch population is measured, and consider what the data mean for conservation. Begin with a bird's-eye view of a butterfly colony, and try to estimate its size! Photo: Dr. Lincoln P. Brower, Sweet Briar College
Monarch butterfly in Mexico Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: February 10, 2011
The monarch's winter habitat in Mexico is surprisingly cold. Temperatures can fall to freezing! This week, explore how the cool winter habitat meets the monarchs' needs for survival. Also, Estela Romero reports from Angangueo on the anniversary of last year's deadly landslides. Photo: Dr. Lincoln P. Brower, Sweet Briar College
Tagged monarch recovered in Georgia Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: February 3, 2011
Welcome to Journey North's 18th season! The monarchs reached their winter home three months ago, after a long fall migration. Why did they fly so far? What's so special about this place? Start the season with a virtual visit. Experience the sights and sounds of a butterfly colony. Collect your questions—and get ready for a season of discovery!
Monarch butterflies in Mexico

Welcome to Journey North's spring monarch migration season!
Winter: 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. During the first weeks, we’ll look at the monarch’s winter habitat and their adaptations for survival.Spring: Get ready to track the migration! The monarchs head north in March. Find out how to report your sightings and track the migration on real-time migration maps.

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