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The Buzz

Peak Monarch Migration is Right Around the Corner

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

If you enjoy the sight of colorful monarch butterflies fluttering about, you're going to love the next few weeks. That's because peak monarch migration season is quickly approaching.

They'll need to travel 3,000 miles to reach their overwintering grounds in Mexico and those in northern Wisconsin and Michigan have already begun heading south. According to Monarch Watch, peak time for monarchs in Will County is estimated to be from Sept. 8-20.

It's during that stretch that we'll be seeing all of the monarchs that have been emerging locally as well as those migrating from up north and passing through. 


Strong winds and cold fronts can significantly alter the timing, but the estimates are based on reports to Monarch Watch and data collected from thousands of tagged butterflies.

Journey North also maps the monarchs' migration and has put together a "peak migration" map to help provide some real-time data.


The peak migration period can yield some impressive numbers of butterflies. For example, it was last year that a 70-mile-wide swarm of painted lady butterflies appeared on a weather radar.

Even if a giant swarm like that doesn't happen, set aside some time to venture out in the preserves and do some monarch spotting. Odds are, you won't be disappointed.

Snap a picture of your find and post it to our Will County Wildlife Facebook group and, as long as it was taken within the confines of one of our forest preserves, be sure to enter our Preserve the Moment Photo Contest.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to our digital newsletter, The Citizen. Signing up is easy, free of charge and provides subscribers with weekly updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family.

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