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Witness the Magic of Monarch Butterfly Immigration

The story of the monarch butterfly immigration is astounding and witnessing one of the world’s biggest natural phenomena even more profound. These beautiful creatures can’t survive the winter weather. When the days start growing shorter and chilly, they leave the forests in the United States and Canada in millions heading south where the weather is warmer.  Once in their destination, they gather on trees in thousands forming a spectacular view of what looks like dead leaves. When the sun warms the air to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, these black and orange insects take off in search of food and nectar. The flight feels like drops of rain or rustling leaves and is a sight to behold. So, how can you witness this amazing World’s marvel?

  1. Take a tour to Mexico

When the monarchs head south, they settle on the mountains in Michoacán in Mexico. There are several sanctuaries in Mexico including Chincua and Rosario in the state of Michoacán and Herradura, La Mesa and Cerro Pelon in Donato Guerra in the state of Mexico. You can find places to buy tickets in these areas. The butterfly season in Mexico runs between December and March, with the end of February and early March being the best time to experience them in large numbers. You can plan your trip around this time, but also keep in mind the surge in numbers of people visiting. It is good to plan your trip early enough. It is also important to work with a local guide to get insights on the easiest routes and best times to get the best views.

  1. Watch them take off in California

From October to early March, monarchs coming from the south from Oregon & Idaho as well as west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to central and southern California forming homes along the coast. The best places to witness them include the Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove, Pacific Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, and Santa Cruz Monarch Butterfly grove. These sites provide an amazing experience of the forests where the monarchs hang on pine and Eucalyptus trees, and a good feel of the ocean nearby. Again, it is good to check with the sanctuary that you plan to visit to find out the best times to view the butterflies.

  1. Create a waystation in your backyard

If you don’t get a chance to see the monarch butterflies migrating to the south, you can see them on their way back to North America right in your backyard. It is unfortunate that these butterflies are near extinct as fewer and fewer butterflies are witnessed each passing year. If you live along the trail that they use when heading back, you can be part of the greater cause of saving them and enjoy the view while at it. The monarchs follow the trail in search of milkweed, which is the only food they eat. By planting milkweed in your backyard, you will be creating a way station where monarchs can stop for nectar. The female monarchs will lay their eggs on these plants and you can witness them come out in numbers to feed on the plants.

  1. Follow wildlife news

Not everyone has a chance of traveling where the monarchs are or live along their trail. If you are in this category, you can still see the marvelous phenomenon by following wildlife news online or on wildlife television channels. The monarch butterfly immigration interests many people and organizations who document this journey every year. Some organizations have organized virtual reality events in the past to show the world the over 3,000 miles journey that the monarchs take every year. Keeping up with the wildlife news will give you insights on where to find such events and a chance to follow the immigration on video.

  1. Share the experience with others

There is no better way to fully immerse yourself in a marvelous experience such as the immigration of monarch butterflies than recording them take off in masses. As you take a trip to see what can be equated to a monarch snow globe, take your camera with you. Take a video as they emerge from the trees and take off and have some evidence for your storytelling sessions with your friends and family. In addition, share the experience with others around you or on social media by sending them the video. You can find resources online on how to send large files. Choose the application that suits you and share one of the greatest migrations on earth.


The best way to witness the marvelous monarch butterfly immigration is to go where they settle in California or Mexico. However, if you can’t be able to do that, you can attract them to your home if you live along their trail or simply follow the news. When you do so, it is good to document the experience on video and share it with others around you.

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