Monarch Tagging

Monarch Butterflies are of great concern since their numbers are dropping due to lack of habitat and disturbance within their wintering sites in Mexico. Monarchs need our protection, and we are taking action. Learn about our partnership with Monarch Joint Venture using drone footage to understand monarch habitat on the MJV blog.

For the last few years, we have witnessed an amazing phenomenon here at the Ney Nature Center. About mid-September in the southwest corner of our restored prairie, the monarchs gather and roost. A “roost” is a cluster of butterflies also known as a bivouac. Since monarchs only travel by day, in the evenings they find places to rest and feed before continuing to make their way south. Monarchs are solitary travelers as they migrate, so why they gather into roosting sites at night is unknown to scientists. Most roosts last for a night or two, however, citizen scientists who have been lucky enough to find a roost have noted a few that have lasted up to two weeks.

2015: We began a tagging program and we need your help. As the monarchs come in to roost, we will be collecting data as well as tagging them.

2020: We tagged 500 monarchs and saw many more pass through the park! Stay tuned for our 2021 tagging events.

2021: We tagged 505 monarchs and saw several more flying around Ney this year!