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Watch for Monarch Butterflies and Milkweed

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Monarch butterfly migration map

Report Your Sightings
All monarch observations are included on Journey North's real-time maps. Your sightings help shed light on the many mysteries of monarch migration. Report here.

"Citizen scientists are making an important contribution to our understanding of monarchs and migration," says scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower.

First Monarch
Report the FIRST monarch butterfly you see in the spring. Include information about wind, weather and habitat conditions. The monarchs leave their overwintering sites in Mexico in March and the migration lasts until June. If you see monarchs during the winter months (January or February) report winter monarch sightings.


First Milkweed
Report the first milkweed to emerge in the spring. Watch carefully because the young shoots can be hard to detect. In many regions, monarchs arrive as soon as the first native milkweed emerges. The monarchs sometimes appear to get ahead of their milkweed food source, so the timing of these two events is of scientific interest.

First Monarch Egg
Inspect milkweed carefully for monarch eggs. They are usually underneath young milkweed leaves, but may be along the stems or in budding leaves at the tip. If you can't spend a lot of time watching for the first butterfly, just watch for the first monarch eggs. You'll know monarchs have arrived in your region when you see their tiny eggs.

First Monarch Larva
Report the first monarch caterpillar you see. Monarch eggs hatch into larvae about 2-5 days after the eggs were laid. The two larvae in this picture show how much a caterpillar can grow in about two weeks.