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Monarch Butterfly Update: May 24, 2012
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Canadians welcomed the monarchs' return this week as large numbers of butterflies reached the final nation of their tri-national migration. People continued to report monarchs that are early and in unprecedented numbers. All signs say 2012 is a productive breeding season!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Word Cloud
Word Cloud

News: Clouds of Migrating Butterflies!
News from the North
The migration made a huge push into Sasketchewan, Manitoba and northern Minnesota this week.

Minnesota's bear man, Dr. Lynn Rogers, noted "clouds of migrating monarch butterflies—more than any of us have ever seen."

From Manitoba: "Monarch sightings are a rare event around here. I didn't see any last year and only a few in the 12 years that I've been here. Today while I was walking with my dogs I saw at least 20 in the hour that I was out."

Other observers in northern Minnesota were similarly astonished by the numbers: "Likely 50 plus monarchs during the day," said one and "we saw dozens, maybe hundreds," said another.

Whoosh! There's That Weather Pattern Again
These weather maps illustrate the classic weather pattern monarchs use to jump northward. These conditions create an "insect pump" that carries the monarchs from their source region into new breeding territory.

Population Building in the East
The monarchs entered Quebec and New Brunswick this week for a total of five Canadian provinces. Here are their abbreviations: ON, MB, SK, NB, PQ. Can you name them?

As in the Midwest, New England observers are noting early arrivals and large numbers:

"Went today and found over 100 eggs," wrote a Connecticut observer.

"Last year was my earliest sighting in early June, this year is my new record," a Massachusetts observer wrote on May 19th.

Look at the animated map to see how far advanced this spring is compared to last spring.

Image: Mary Malmburg
Butterfly Crossing

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar
Wind Map
Monarch Butterfly Migration Map
Compare springs
The Migration: Maps and Journal Page
Let's find out when and where monarchs and milkweed appear this spring.
Monarch Butterfly Winter Sightings Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2011 Worksheet: Journal Page
First Monarch
(map | animation | sightings)
First Milkweed
(map | animation | sightings)
The next monarch migration update will be posted on May 31, 2012.
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