"Many questions remain unanswered about the fall migration of the monarch population east of the Rocky Mountains. How do the monarchs move across the continent, i.e. do they move in specific directions or take certain pathways? How is the migration influenced by the weather and are there differences in the migration from year to year? We need data to answer these questions and we need your help! Only through the cooperative efforts of volunteer taggers will we be able to obtain sufficient recoveries and observations of the migration to answer these questions. Because monarchs have a certain "charisma" and a fascinating biology and because its fun to have an excuse to collect butterflies, this project is also a good way to introduce [participants] to science and have them contribute to a scientific study. Through participation in this project we also hope to further interest in the conservation of habitats critical to the survival of the monarch butterfly and its magnificent migrations."
Monarch Watch, the go-to website for monarch butterfly information, has complete supplies and instructions for participating in this citizen science project.
When: According to the website - the peak Monarch migration for the Hagerman NWR area occurs between September 29 and October 11.
Tags are placed on temporarily captured Monarch butterflies and the data for each tag is reported to Monarch Watch. When a tagged butterfly is recaptured or found, the finder can contact Monarch Watch with the tag data and the new location. Recovery data is analyzed for migration patterns.
If you would like to attend the tagging, please be at the Refuge Visitor Center by 9:30 am, Tuesday morning.