Buchanan County Conservation Monarch Tagging
Buchanan County Conservation’s annual fall Monarch Tagging will be held Saturday, September 18th at 1 pm. Due to the uncertainty of where nectaring flowers will be blooming, locations are yet to be determined.
Pre-registration is required at www.buchanancountyparks.com. There is a registration fee of $4 per person or $10 per family.
In the past 20 years participants have tagged nearly 12,000 monarchs on their way to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Of those, at least 235 have been recovered in Mexico. Join us during the fall migration at locations to be determined by blooming nectar flowers (registered participants will be emailed location), to catch, tag and release these tiny travelers. Nets and tags will be provided.
Monarch butterflies begin their migration south from Canada in late August. In September and early October they travel south and west across the eastern US. Their journey ends in the mountains of central Mexico – a distance of over 2500 miles for some. They have never been to these wintering roosts before, but somehow manage to find the same spots used for decades.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that scientists knew where migrating monarchs went, and since that time much has been learned. But many more questions remain.
How do they get to roost spots last visited by butterflies three generations removed? What route(s) do they take to get there? How do weather patterns effect their travels? Do males and females travel at different times? These are just a few of the unanswered questions being studied by Monarch Watch’s tagging program.
The best part of these mysteries is that you can help with finding the answers. Monarch Watch is a collaborative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers investigating the monarch butterfly migration and biology. Initiated in 1992 as a research project at the University of Kansas, Monarch watch now includes studies on monarch culturing, life history studies, flight direction analysis, sun compass studies, as well as tagging of migrating butterflies.