A Steady Advance
April 6, 2017 by Elizabeth Howard
  Drifting across the landscape — with frequent stops to sip nectar, lay an egg, or find a mate — monarchs are steadily advancing northward.

Monarch Butterfly Spring Migration Nectaring in Texas
Stopping for a sip in Dripping Springs, Texas.
Contributed on April 2, 2017 by Debra Hendricks.

Four New States
The migration's leading edge has now expanded into four new states, Mississippi, Kansas, Tennessee, and Missouri. The northernmost monarch was reported from St. Louis:

"I have never observed a monarch in the spring, much less this early," reported Sherri, who observed the butterfly carefully to rule out other look-alike species.

Rate of Advance
After this spring's dramatic entry into Texas and northward advance of 300 miles in a one week, the migration has settled down to a consistent 100 miles per week.

Take a look at these maps to for a year-to-year comparison. For butterflies that only live a few weeks in the spring, the rate and extent of advancement into the northern breeding grounds matter. When the migration advance slowly, the population is concentrated in warm southern regions:

  • The eggs, larvae, and adult monarchs are safer from cold and freezing temperatures.
  • The next generation can complete the life cycle more quickly where temperatures are warm.

More Monarchs to Come!
Estela reports that a substantial number of monarchs remained at Sierra Chincua on April 1st but that El Rosario had been vacated by April 3rd. She encountered four children, Lupita,  Susana, Mario and Mauricio, who said:

“Estelita! It is now really over, now to wait for them for the next 8 months! They change our life so when they are here!  Why do they have to leave? Our warm days hardly last two months and they could stay cool here in our forests and have something to eat if our parents would plant milkweed here!  We could help them! Why isn’t that possible?"

Read more from Chincua and Rosario...

Monarch Butterfly
First for Kansas
Leah Horsley
Monarch Butterfly Migration Maps: Compare Years
Rate of Advance
Monarch Butterflies at Sanctuary in Mexico
Letter from Estela
Chincua | El Rosario
Journal: What story would this monarch tell?


What challenges might this tattered monarch have faced during fall migration, winter in Mexico, and spring migration to Texas? Use personification to imagine and write this magnificent monarch's survival story.

Personification: What story would this monarch butterfly tell?

Spring Migration 2017
Report all monarchs you see — adults, eggs, larvae.
Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map Monarch butterfly migration map
What to Report Adults
report | map | list
report | map | list
Monarch butterfly migration map Map of milkweed emergence: Spring 2017 Monarch butterfly migration map
report | map | list
report | map | list
Other Observations
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Next April 13, 2017