Best Monarchs Butterfly Spotting Locations Is North American
One of the most magnificent wonders of the animal kingdom occurs every year and only in North America. It is the famous Monarch butterfly migration! They are the only insects on the planet known to leave their homes in Autumn. Once temperatures drop and head South until the weather at their home warms up again. Some of the butterflies fly all the way from Canada to Mexico to spend the Winter there before returning home.
Sadly, twenty years ago no one had to plan out visiting a location to see plenty Monarch butterflies during warm weather, but now the populations are decreasing rapidly. The number of Monarch butterflies has now gone down ninety percent from two decades ago.
Butterfly spotting can still happen in natural areas today, but it’s a successful event to see a lot just out in nature. If one were to be so lucky just to come across a blanket of the orange and black insects, they would likely be resting and feeding on nectar-bearing plants and trees.
When they aren’t at their final destination in the South, they usually try to fly between fifty to one hundred miles per day and only stop to rest and refuel, so they don’t hang around for too long. Sometimes dozens will huddle together at night in the trees and linger until the next cold front comes along to urge them Southward.
Butterfly spotting locations are all over the United States and Mexico, with a few being in Canada. The main thing to know is what part of the year to visit each location to see the butterflies in action.
Not all Monarchs make their way to Mexico to overwinter. Some of the butterflies living in the Western part of the United States will pick one from the many great locations in California to bask in the mild weather from Mid-October to Mid-February.
Plenty of State Parks, Monarch Preserves, and Sanctuaries have been set up especially for the black and orange beauties. Some of the best butterfly spotting locations on the West coast include Goleta and Pismo Beach, California.
One of the most Famous places for seeing the Monarchs is at Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, Canada. Butterflies abound there from early Spring until the start of Fall.
The Canadian Monarchs will gather together at a point on this peninsula. The monarchs will rest just before taking off overtop of Lake Erie on their entry into the United States.
On the other side of the Great Lakes, the butterflies begin to disperse on their separate routes to warmer weather. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a sister park to Point Pelee.
It is one of the locations where some, but not all of the butterflies from the Ontario take-off will land and rest for a while.
New York is one of the American locations that can be hit or miss when it comes to butterfly spotting. Outside of New York City, the Fire Island National Seashore, Gateway National Recreational Area, and the Great Kills Park of Staten Island will sometimes get some Monarch visitors.
The turnout typically depends on how well the asters and goldenrods bloomed that year. Since these are the plants that would draw the Monarchs to these areas. If the flowers are in full bloom, the middle of October would be the best time to visit to see the butterflies.
Some butterflies will depart from out of Texas and use the Gulf breezes to carry them into Mexico. Just few will spend the Winter in Florida taking the route over the Gulf of Mexico.
Just like they do at Point Pelee, the Monarchs will be seen resting at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge near Marble Falls, Texas before flying over the water.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia Birding and Wildlife Refuge in Cape Charles is another great place to be for butterfly spotting on the East coast. On October 5th through 7th there will be the festival dedicated to the Monarch migration.
Taggers will be there to talk to attendees about how they measure and record the size, gender, and condition of the butterflies.
St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is one of the better locations for seeing the Monarchs. They are stop to rest before flying over the gulf coast into Mexico. A butterfly festival is scheduled for October 27th to coincide with time scientists believe will be the highest in-migration for this area.