Wild Things: Monarch Butterflies Start a Long Migration

You may not have seen many monarch butterflies throughout the summer, but visit a prairie in late summer-early fall and you'll see plenty of monarchs fueling up for the long journey south to Mexico, where they overwinter. They are in search of late-season nectar plants such as stiff goldenrod to build up their body fat so they can make it to Mexico and survive the winter.

Monarchs are the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds do. Western monarchs overwinter on the California coasts; eastern monarchs overwinter in the forests of the Mexico mountains. Monarchs can travel between 50 ‒100 miles a day, and it can take up to two months to complete their journey. The farthest ranging monarch butterfly recorded traveled 265 miles in one day.

The annual migration of these beautiful butterflies is a unique and amazing phenomenon to watch, and you can catch it right now in our preserves!  

Willowbrook Wildlife Center naturalist Stephanie Touzalin talks more about monarchs on Wild Things on WDCB Radio (90.9 FM).  

         

Other related stories: 

Very Important Pollinators Set to Take Stage 

Milkweeds for Monarchs 

Building a Waystation for Monarchs 

Plight of the Pollinator 

Our Partnership for Monarch Butterflies 

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