Scientists Need Help Reporting Monarch Butterfly Sightings in the South This Winter

Accurate data on their migration and winter behavior is crucial to their conservation.

Scientists are on the hunt for monarch butterflies hunkering down for the winter in the South, and they need help.

Monarchs typically migrate to Mexico for the winter months, but, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), as their populations have declined over the last two decades, more have been observed wintering and even breeding in the Southern U.S.

DNR wildlife biologist Anna Yellin told WABE that because monarch butterflies are currently being considered for listing under the endangered species act, it's essential for the scientists and officials making that decision to understand their population and changing behavior. Accurate data on their migration and overwintering behavior is crucial to the conservation of this iconic insect.

So, for the second winter in a row, the partnership of universities, agencies, and other organizations known as Monarchs Overwintering in Southeastern States is requesting the public's involvement.

From December 1 through March 1, the public is encouraged to report monarch sightings in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas using the partnership's online data portal at JourneyNorth.org/sightings.

"Volunteers are vital to this effort," Susan Meyers, co-chair of Monarchs Across Georgia, said in a news release. "If you enjoy being outdoors and exploring your local ecosystem, this is an easy activity that can be done alone or with your family."

Last winter, volunteers from across the Southeast and Gulf states provided more than 5,800 observations of monarch butterflies.

"When we come together as a community as we have with this effort, we stand a better chance of protecting the monarch butterfly for future generations," Yellin said in a release.

To take part, start by creating a free account at JourneyNorth.org/reg. You can learn more about how to report monarch sightings at JourneyNorth.org/monarchs.

Happy reporting!

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles