Roughly 40 percent of all monarch butterflies that overwinter in Mexico are estimated to come from Iowa and neighboring Midwestern states.

It was a recent email from the National Wildlife Federation that caught my attention while skimming through the inbox, and its headline confirmed what I’d anecdotally observed during the past several days: Monarchs are on the move.

Whether driving home on Interstate 35 from northeastern Minnesota on Labor Day weekend, going for a walk at the Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor or while enjoying breakfast in our backyard earlier this week, monarchs are suddenly showing up everywhere (albeit not in great numbers but one or two individuals here and there.) And, who among us, doesn’t enjoy being distracted by these delicate-looking beauties that add a bit of whimsy, elegance and grace to a Midwestern landscape?

Each year, at this time, adult Eastern North American monarchs begin their long migration — in some cases up to 3,000 miles — from their summer breeding ranges in the eastern two-thirds of the continental United States and Canada to the fir forests of Mexico’s Central Highlands where they will spend the next five or six months.



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