Filed under Degree Days, Monarch Tagging, Monarch Waystations | 5 Comments »
Spring is coming and so are the monarchs. As the temperatures increase at the overwintering sites in Mexico from the low 60s in January to the high 60s and low 70s in early February monarch activity increases. The butterflies begin mating close to the 14th of February and shortly thereafter a few begin trickling northward with the largest numbers leaving the overwintering sites in the first two weeks of March. Worn monarchs, presumably from the overwintering sites, are reported in inland Texas toward the end of the first week in March each year. So, it won’t be long before monarchs start another breeding cycle.
We have big plans for this season and we need your help on several projects:
1. MONARCH WAYSTATIONS
We need to increase the number of registered Monarch Waystations by at least 1,000. There are now 1,871 registered habitats in the Monarch Waystation Registry and this number needs to grow given that we are losing 2.2 million acres of habitat per year due to development. As we’ve said before, we need you to help us market this program. Please show your Monarch Waystations to others and direct people to our web site. Your efforts will help educate the public of the need to protect habitats for monarchs and other wildlife.
2. HABITAT OBSERVATIONS
We need your to help us track the phenology (seasonal progression) of milkweeds and nectar plants. We will have a series of announcements describing how you can participate in this program in the coming weeks.
3. MONARCH OBSERVATIONS
Please report the first monarch you see this spring. We need a larger number of observations of first monarchs to determine how well the spring migration is synchronized with the growth phases of the milkweeds.
4. DEGREE DAY LOGGING
In future articles we will demonstrate how to record growing degree days for both milkweeds and monarchs in our Monarch Waystation. We hope that these demonstrations will encourage more of you to use these simple devices to learn more about the relationships between temperature and growth and development.
5. MONARCH TAGGING
Another tagging season will be here soon but it is not too soon to urge you to order your tags now. Again, we will limit the number of tags to 200,000 and once these are gone, they’re gone. So, do order early to avoid being disappointed.
Tagging Kits and other materials are available via the Monarch Watch Shop online at Shop.MonarchWatch.org