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Heading South – Monarch Butterfly Migration


Photo by David R. Tribble

Written by, Caroline Martin

Let’s Go Get Warm!

Did you know that Monarch Butterflies are one of the only species of butterflies that migrate south for the winter like birds do?  Some travel up to 3,000 miles!

According to the USDA, Eastern North American Monarchs make the long journey to the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico in early October and head back north by late March.  Those in Western North America migrate to and from California.  Climates become too cold for them to survive up north and their primary sources of food die off as well.

The Eastern Monarchs travel from all over the country, meet in Central Texas and head down to Mexico.  They settle about 2 miles above sea level in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico, where the climate is perfect for them and has just the right amount of humidity.  Monarchs cluster together in trees – sometimes 10,000 or more butterflies at once – to stay warm.

Monarch Migration Patterns

Map source:

Map source:

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