It's monarch migration season!

by Ellen Rogers

"I felt like I was in a butterfly house! There were hundreds of monarchs."

FMR ecologist Karen Schik took video of monarchs enjoying blazing star at our Flint Hills Resources restored prairie in Inver Grove Heights. "The video doesn't really do it justice," she said. But it's still a heartening sight.

Each fall, monarchs begin their long journey south to Mexico to overwinter. You'll spot them resting and finding nectar fuel in any of our restored prairies or at native plantings in your neighborhood. And if you're lucky, you might walk into a field of hundreds like Karen did. While monarchs migrate alone, they do roost together for warmth and shelter through chilly evenings or against the wind.

In 2017, we began monitoring for monarch butterflies at the Pine Bend Bluffs restoration at Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount. The first year volunteers recorded 47 eggs and 2 caterpillars. In 2019 they found 86 eggs and 31 caterpillars — a 1,450% increase! This is a great trend, similar to the increased monarch numbers in 2018 and 2019 across our region. We hope the pattern continues!

You can monitor monarchs at your property too! Learn more about how citizen science can help protect these winged critters.

Read more from the Conservation Blog.