And they’re back!

 

The monarchs have finally returned to Western New York! This completes one of the most interesting journeys any animal undertakes.

The monarch migration will start in September when monarchs leave this area for the mountains just west of Mexico City. They will arrive there in late October or early November; they’ll hang out there for a few months and start their journey back north in March.

The butterflies that are just arriving now are not the ones that left here in the fall. They are either the first or second generation of offspring from the original southward migrants. While they are here in New York, there will be at least two more generations produced with the final generation ready to take wing and start the migration back to Mexico.

The monarch Tim spotted at the East High Butterfly Beltway Garden

The monarch Tim spotted at the Zoo’s Butterfly Beltway garden–his first sighting of the season!

So the butterflies going to Mexico have never been there before and the ones returning to New York have never been here! Scientist continue to study the amazing mechanisms and adaptations of monarchs that enable them to find their way to and from Mexico over the course of several generations.

This has been a very exciting week for me, not only because I spotted my first monarch of the season enjoying the butterfly garden that our ZooTeens created last summer, but also because I spotted my first monarch egg! This egg was carefully laid on the underside of a milkweed leaf in the Butterfly Beltway Project garden we planted at East High school.

Look closely and you can see a tiny monarch egg!

Look closely and you can see a tiny monarch egg.

A close-up view of the monarch egg Tim spotted on the back of a milkweed plant.

A close-up view of the monarch egg Tim spotted on the back of a milkweed leaf.

It is not too late to plant your #partyformonarchs butterfly garden. Be on the lookout for posts on both Facebook and Twitter that various organizations have written with #partyformonarchs tagged to see how your neighbors are helping save monarchs, too!

And remember…if you build it, they will come!

 

—Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator