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The Buzz

Migration Watch: Monarchs Have Landed in Will County

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

We've been charting many different migrations this season, announcing when a variety of species have landed in Will County, and we now can add monarch butterflies to the list.

Thanks to a map from Journey North, we've been able to watch the butterflies' path from their winter home in Mexico, with the first reported sighting in the county coming May 8 at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

The map collects data from citizen scientists across the country to put together a migration map, showing their progress in real time.

This year, the monarchs are right on pace compared to 2018, when the first Will County sighting was reported on May 8 in Lockport. 

Interpretive naturalist Suzy Lyttle said each year's migration can vary depending on weather conditions they experience. They're much more delicate than birds, she said, and they can't fly in the rain. 

Winds also can make a big difference. They normally can fly at speeds up to 20 miles per hour and favorable wind conditions can allow them to travel anywhere from 40 to 100 miles per day.

"From year to year, things change," Lyttle said of their annual trek north. "It just depends. Some years, they're early and some years, they're late."

For now, while you're waiting for them to arrive in your yard — if they haven't already — here's something fascinating to check out: The amazing monarch metamorphosis condensed into a matter of seconds.




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