Let’s Tag Some Monarchs

Welcome to all the new viewers. Ideally the World Herald article would have been earlier in the year as it has generated a lot of traffic.

As you can see I’m at 99 species for the year so a lot has happened already. June and July are when most of Nebraska’s butterflies that have a short flight period fly but there remain a half dozen or so late summer fliers to encounter. Plus whatever southern strays might show up in late summer. So there is still work to be done.

While June and July were hectic (a fun hectic) looking at the calendar I am somewhat dismayed to see July ending. But that also means the Monarch migration is drawing near. Last year I joined some Audubon staff members to tag some migrating Monarchs in early September. It was so much fun I ordered 25 tags of my own and got them used up by the end of September. The project is by monarchwatch.com and works like this. You purchase the tagging kit (25 tags for $15 or 50 tags for $20) from monarchwatch.com. You can also purchase nets there for those of you who don’t already have a butterfly net (or 6). You get instructions on how/where to tag the butterflies and how to input the information to send back to monarchwatch. The odds of one of your 25-50 butterflies being found are about the same as your odds of winning the lottery. But it does happen and its a great educational activity. Monarchwatch has observers (like you and I) on the migration routes and also has locals hired in the winter roosting areas to look for Monarchs with tags. You do have to check their website periodically to see if any of “your” butterflies have been found. I went 0/25 last year which is exactly what I expected but it was fun to participate anyway. So if that sounds interesting to you the time is short to get your order for tags in to be ready for the fall migration in about a month.

While I have no new “Big Year” species to report since my last post there has been quite a bit of activity in my yard and around the state. I’ve seen an interesting mix of butterflies in our yard the last several days including Eastern Tiger, Giant and Black Swallowtails, a Comma, Snout and Sleepy Oranges (grandchildren of the butterflies that arrived in May). Several readers have shared some excellent photos I’d like to share with you as well. We’re in the process of getting these photos into our images page so please be patient and keep sending those pics. Thanks for your interest and participation!!

2 thoughts on “Let’s Tag Some Monarchs

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