|South winds sent the monarchs sailing across the Midwest this week. A strong pulse pushed into South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Sixty people reported their first monarchs this week. That's double the number reported two weeks ago. The new generation is out in full force.
"We saw our first Monarch at recess today! It flew right over our playground!" came the report from Indiana's Orchard View Elementary.
One Iowa observer saw his first monarch, followed by seven more, and 11 the next day!
"We saw a monarch butterfly swoop down in the middle of our playground. We all rushed after it! We think it was looking for milkweed," said 2nd grade students in Falls Church, Virginia.
The number of monarchs people are reporting is also noteworthy. Many are seeing multiple monarchs the same day they see their first.
"This is a spring like no other," says Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch. "Conditions have been consistently excellent for monarch reproduction for 6 weeks. Everything indicates that monarchs will rebound this year."
Only a Wing
Monarch biologist Dr. Lincoln Brower was visiting Iowa as the wave of monarchs moved in. He didn't see a monarch but he found a monarch wing.
"The wing was of a fresh male, and was found in grass in the prairie. There is no doubt that this monarch was snatched by a bird. The habitat adjacent to the prairie is a haven for birds. The fact that the wing was fresh indicates that it was born, likely in Texas, a week or so earlier."
Watch the Wings
A massive migration of red admiral butterflies has been underway for several weeks. People are seeing the small butterflies in "uncountable numbers." Be careful not to misidentify red admirals as monarchs. Both species are the same colors, but notice the differences in their wing patterns.
Monarchs Suddenly in the Southwest?
Notice how many sightings have appeared in Arizona during the past week. Why the sudden increase? Are more people simply reporting—or is there an outbreak of monarchs?