Species of the Month: Monarch Butterfly (March, 2022)

March 27, 2022

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a special and beloved North American insect that journeys 2,000 miles (one-way) in its migration journey annually. This is the largest of all known insect migrations on Earth! Unfortunately, this remarkable animal has experienced an 80% decline in population across North America between 1994- 95 and 2014-15. This devastating population decline has ignited a multitude of groups and individuals to take action to reverse this trend. Universities, government agencies, and conservation groups are trying to restore monarch habitat to ensure the monarch butterfly doesn't become another extinct species. Read the following page to learn how you can help them!

Facts about Monarch Butterflies:

  • They migrate only during the daytime.
  • Monarchs and speed! Monarchs can glide in still air at about 12km/hr; cruise (flap & glide) at appox. 18km/hr and they can dart at 35km per hour! Quite speedy for a little insect.
  • There are two populations of monarch butterflies: west and east. Western monarchs (those west of the Rocky Mountains) overwinter along the California Coast. These represent approximately 5% of worldwide monarch population. Eastern monarchs (those east of the Rocky Mountains) overwinter at the Transvolcanic Mountains of Central Mexico, west of Mexico City. They gather in dense colonies, in forests where the dominant trees are oyamel fir (Abies religiosa).

Monarchs and EBC:

Annually EBC hosts a Monarch Butterfly festival. This year, our regional conservation coordinators will be heading out into the field to tag Monarchs so their migration can be tracked. The public are welcome to 'shadow' our staff to see how they do this. In 2020, we launched our milkweed campaign where we offer free milkweed seed each year to encourage wildlife lovers to plant in their gardens to grow monarch habitat.

How Can I Help The Monarchs?

Plant milkweed seeds! To receive your milkweed package, register for your milkweed seed ticket by clicking here.  

The seeds and postage are FREE but a donation to help grow this effort would be really appreciated.