2017 was a banner summer for the Monarch butterfly!
We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from butterfly enthusiasts across southern Ontario who are all reporting seeing more Monarchs than last year in 2016. Certainly we have also observed more butterflies and caterpillars on our milkweed than the last two years combined, which is great considering the delayed spring made for a rather slow start for Monarchs this year.
The annual migration will be starting very soon, if it isn’t already slowly taking place. There are still caterpillars and chrysalides out there on wild milkweed, so don’t be surprised if you see adult Monarch butterflies right until the end of September. Over the next few weeks, adult Monarchs will begin a 4000-5000 km one-way journey to the Transvolcanic Mountain range in Mexico where they will overwinter.
While it seems like there’s been an increase in their numbers this summer, it’s still important to remember that the Monarch population has experienced a huge decrease over the last 15-20 years. It is still currently listed as a species of Special Concern on the Species at Risk (SAR) list, although it has been recommended by the COSEWIC committee to be listed as endangered.
Because of citizen science projects like the tagging program through MonarchWatch, we are able to have information and gather data on the Monarch population. Tagging adult Monarchs before they begin their migration is one of the best ways to help scientists monitor population dynamics.
Don’t know what tagging a Monarch looks like? Watch our video below and come out to our annual event, Monarch Tagging Weekend! Learn more about the amazing story of the monarch butterfly, their migration, and how you can help.