Today's News Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North

About the Monarch Migration Study
(Back to
Monarch Home Page)

Report the FIRST adult monarch butterfly you see this spring to Journey North!

In a unique partnership, you can join students and scientists across North America to gather and analyze data about this fascinating migration. We'll explore how wind and weather affect the butterflies' journey; we'll discover the routes the monarchs take and the risks they face along the way. We'll learn about conservation efforts on the wintering grounds and at points along the path. Perhaps most importantly, we'll celebrate the return of this delicate sign of spring as it moves across the continent.

How Your Can Help Track the Spring, 2000 Monarch Migration
Journey North tracks the monarch migration each year by collecting sightings of the FIRST monarch butterfly an observer sees in the spring. A migration map is produced every week, providing a "live" snapshot of the migration as it progresses.

  • Monarch Butterfly Migration Checklist: Please print this checklist and take it with you in the field. Take notes on the topics listed. When you report your monarch sightings to Journey North, please include as much of this information as possible in the "Comments" section.

About the Monarch Migration
Every spring, millions of monarch butterflies re-populate eastern North America after surviving the winter in the high mountains west of Mexico City. They flew up to 2,500 miles to get there last fall and spent the winter living off their fat reserves. With just a few weeks to live, they'll race to produce the next generation. The following fall, by instinct alone, the great-grandchildren of these butterflies will return to the very same mountain sanctuaries. The information for this incredible journey is somehow passed from generation to generation so that miraculously the butterflies return to a place they've never seen before.

Migration Route of the Monarch

Location of Monarch Sancturies in Mexico

Map by Macalester College

Important Notes

Report Sightings of Monarch Eggs
In addition to reporting your first adult monarch, please report the FIRST MONARCH EGGS you see on milkweed. (Because when you see monarch eggs, you'll know monarchs have arrived in your region!)

Identification of Milkweed & Monarch Eggs

Monarch Eggs

Don't expect to see milkweed with more than one egg per leaf. This monarch layed eggs in captivity, so deposited many on a single leaf.

Photo by Karen Obserhauser

Please learn to identify milkweed now. The Monarch Watch WWW site has a photo guide for identification. Monarch eggs are usually found underneath the young leaves. (See photo.) If you're not certain you can identify monarch eggs correctly, please do not report sightings of eggs.

Monarchs Wintering Outside of Mexico
Residents of the Gulf States and California: Please help us document whether monarchs have remained in your region throughout the winter. Report NOW if monarchs are present.

California Monarch Overwintering Sites
Various factors make tracking migration from the West Coast overwintering sites much more difficult to track than the migration from Mexico. (There are several hundred sites, many are very small, they are spread over many hundreds of miles along the coast, they break up at different times, etc.) However, we encourage our California readers to help us improve this effort. If you visit the sites or have information about their spring break-up, please report your observations.

Don't Report Captive-bred Monarchs
If you raise and release monarchs, please do not report about them. The purpose of this study is to follow the natural migration. Please be very careful NOT to report monarchs which you have raised and released!

Copyright 2000 Journey North. All Rights Reserved. Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form

Today's News Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North