|The northward expansion of the monarchs from Mexico is nearing its end. The migration's leading edge is approaching latitude 40°N, and this generation rarely goes farther north. This week's northernmost monarchs were reported from Kansas and Missouri at 39°N.
"I saw two separate male monarchs at Konza Prairie. Both appeared faded and worn, and were struggling to fly north against the strong winds."
April 21, 2014 Konza Prairie, Kansas
Watch for Fresh Wings
By the first week of May, the new generation should be evident. Observers: please watch for fresh wings of the new generation!
Journey North migration maps capture a crucial period of the monarch's annual cycle. During the first 6 weeks of spring migration, we see where the monarchs from Mexico travel during the last weeks of their lives. The maps also reveal where habitat is critical for monarchs in early spring.
Scientists use spring migration data from citizen scientists to explore connections between arrival time and reproductive success during the breeding season. Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch predicts how this year's population will fare based on his Three Bears hypothesis:
"There's an optimal time of arrival in the northern breeding areas – too early or too late usually leads to lower production...Overall, we seem to be off to a better start than in either of the last two years - too hot in 2012, too cold in 2013 - just right in 2014? Not quite, but there is hope for some recovery. The number and temporal and spatial distributions of the first sightings between the 1st of May and the 9th of June will be the next benchmark by which to judge the status of the population."