The Monarch on Fall Migration
Did you know that Monarch Butterflies travel up to 3000 kilometers south for the winter? Every year, these insects migrate an incredibly long distance to get to their wintering grounds in Central Mexico. Here, there are millions that congregate in a Canadian-type northern fir forest. The forest provides cover as the Monarchs drape themselves from the fir trees in the millions. They migrate to this particular habitat as it protects them from temperature extremes and dryness.
As they start their migration in late summer/early fall, you may be lucky to see more Monarchs buzzing around your NatureHood. One filmmaker in Toronto was lucky enough to see a number of Monarchs on their journey and captured a video to show our winged friends!
Aside from the fall migration – you will also see the Monarch coming back to Canada in early June. What better way to celebrate their return than to help this species! Over the last 20 years, the Monarch Butterfly population has seen a drop of 80%! In Canada, the Monarch is listed as special concern under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
This year, a new program was put in place called MilkweedWatch that allows you to help the Monarch Butterfly through citizen science! This program requires you to identify the location of milkweed plants, which are crucial for Monarch reproduction in Canada. By doing so, it helps researchers and conservation groups protect and preserve milkweed plants across Canada!
Along with protecting milkweeds, Nature Canada also worked with the Monarch Teacher Network of Canada to showcase the life cycle of the Monarch and display what teachers are doing to help protect this species.