Last winter in Mexico the overwintering colonies increased by an astounding 144% over the previous year, covering an area of more than 6 hectares. That was the greatest number of monarchs seen since the winter of 2006/2007 and by far the most butterflies I had seen in Mexico! It is the descendants of these individuals that we’ve been seeing this spring and summer, and I have been observing an encouraging number of Monarchs throughout southern Ontario where I live; the eggs and larvae seem to be distributed in abundance. Almost every milkweed patch I have checked has caterpillars, much to the delight of my children who have spent the summer taking care of the first two generations of breeding monarchs.
The apparent success of the breeding population in Ontario is making me very excited to visit the colonies in Mexico again this coming winter! If numbers continue to build as they have been, more than likely the overwintering colonies will be equal to, or greater than the numbers we saw last year. The phenomenon of seeing hundreds of millions of butterflies within a few hectares of conifer forest is one that always leaves me in complete awe. Although I have visited the colonies 5 times now, it has never provided the same experience. Each visit to the four sanctuaries on my tour has been unique, but equally as spectacular for different reasons. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that every nature-lover should have on their “bucket list”!
As the summer winds down and the last generations of Canadian-born Monarchs prepare to migrate south, I will be buzzing with the anticipation of what the 2020 Monarchs of Mexico tour has in store for us!
Editor’s Note: Click here to learn about the 2020 Monarchs of Mexico tour.