Monarch Butterflies: Flowers that Fly

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Every spring, Monarch butterflies leave their overwintering grounds in Mexico to make their way north to the United States and Canada, a journey totalling over 4,000 km. It takes several months and two to three generations for them to find their way.
A Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on a Common Milkweed plant 
Each year, we marvel at the sight of them. There is magic in the moment of seeing a monarch butterfly fluttering through the air, something that truly does not change with age. It comes easily to admire such fragile, intricately beautiful creatures that are somehow robust enough to accomplish such feats. 

This summer there has already been a lot of buzz that monarchs may be making a comeback after a sharp decline in their numbers. They are listed as a Species of Special Concern on the Species at Risk in Ontario list. A large threat to monarch populations is the loss and fragmentation of their overwintering sites in Mexico. Further, Monarchs exclusively lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Until a few years ago, milkweed was listed as a “noxious weed” by the Ontario Agriculture Ministry, which required it to be destroyed on crop-land. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed, this plant is vital to the continuity of the species. 

Monarch Caterpillars on Milkweed 

So what can you do to help Monarchs thrive? 

You can create a “monarch station” in your yard, or simply plant milkweed plants that the Monarchs rely on. You can even put them in pots on balconies, every little bit helps. Even Monarch caterpillars are a beautiful sight. As always, the best thing you can do is grow native species to support biodiversity. 

You can also report your sightings, track migration in real-time and follow migration news here. Citizen science greatly helps scientists to understand the conservation needs of these beautiful butterflies.

"Butterflies... flowers that fly and all but sing" - Robert Frost 




  1. Hello
    a very nice report about the monarch butterfly, I did not know that, I have a flowering meadow, but milkweed will definitely be there next year
    P.S. a translator on your blog would be nice my English is a little not so good ... :-))
    Greetings Frank

  2. Thanks for looking Frank and for your feedback about the translator! We will look into it!