Good news: Numbers appear to be greater than last year
A recent cool front brought migrating monarchs into Texas this week. The butterflies are on their way to wintering grounds in Mexico in numbers large enough to be picked up on weather radar. Enthusiasts are cautiously optimistic about the size of the monarch “crowd” this year.
While that’s seemingly good news, there is concern that recent drought conditions may leave less than ample food sources for these beloved flutterers, who travel in multiple generations each year from Mexico to Canada and back again.
Texas is critical to the later stages of their migration since it is here they fuel up and build the fat stores that will get them through the winter. While the monarchs are here, biologists will be busy tagging and tracking them.
What can you do to help monarchs along the way? It’s too late this year, but you can set aside a corner of your yard for nectar plants and native milkweed for next year. Milkweed is helpful in the spring, as it gives monarchs a nest for their eggs, while nectar plants provide energy for both their fall and spring migrations.