Monarch Butterfly Migration
It is late summer and Otto Armleder Park in Cincinnati is a haven for monarch butterflies that will make their way south to winter in Mexico. The migration of the monarch butterfly is an incredibly daunting trip when you consider the magnitude of the journey. The amazing monarch weighing in at around 0.25 grams travels around 50-100 miles per day. Their journey lasts about 2 months and some travel up to 3000 miles to reach their destination. Luckily, from Cincinnati the trip should only be around 2000 miles.
Monarch butterflies are one of the many creatures that travel the globe as part of their survival. Their migration occurs twice a year. In the spring, these gorgeous insects head north to breed and lay their eggs on milkweed plants. At the end of summer and into fall, the monarch will be found flying south to winter in Mexico. There are also a few populations that winter in Florida or on the California coast.
The milkweed plant is the only food that will sustain the growth of the monarch caterpillar into a butterfly. As grasslands and and undeveloped areas disappear, the hunt for milkweed becomes a greater challenge for the insect. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations, like our Cincinnati Parks, have conservation efforts underway to create natural areas for the monarch – whether as a breeding ground or a rest stop along their journey. So, now a late summer stroll or bike ride around Otto Armleder park offers visitors a chance to admire the remarkable monarch butterfly and to say so long until next season, and safe journey.
You can learn more about the migration of the monarch butterfly and you can participate in Citizen Science projects by helping to count the monarch in your area. Below are a few sites for more information.