Where Do Western Monarchs Spend the Spring?

Despite the fact that Western Monarch butterflies are universally loved, their numbers have plummeted in recent years.

Two monarch butterflies cruise together under a Coast Live Oak tree. (Elizabeth Wallace)

What can you do to help? Join the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge–a campaign created to increase awareness of locations where Western Monarchs spend the spring in California after leaving their coastal California overwintering sites.

Male and female Western Monarchs together. Photo by Jeff Wallace.

If you see a monarch from February 18 through April 22, take a photo (it can be far away and blurry). Then report the siting to iNaturalist, the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper, or email it to MonarchMystery@wsu.edu.

Far away and blurry photo of Western Monarch on baccharis pilularis cultivar and coffee berry. (Elizabeth Wallace)

Your photo will help scientists better understand Western Monarchs’ locations and activities in February, March, and April. When you share your springtime Monarch observations, you help conservation efforts for the butterfly.

In between reporting your spring Western Monarch sitings, plant more native plants in your garden, especially California buckwheat, salvias, manzanitas, narrow-leaf milkweed, and maybe a scrub oak tree!

6 responses to “Where Do Western Monarchs Spend the Spring?”

  1. Sad that the Monarch is on the decline. We get very few Monarchs here in Arkansas and mostly in late Summer.


    1. Dear Peggy, Thank you for commenting. More than 80 percent of land in the United States is privately-owned. If we all spent a little time learning about what native plants grow in our area, and then try planting a few, and stop using herbicides and pesticides, all would be well! Nature is resilient.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So True. I grow orange and pink milkweed for the Butterflies. The Monarchs also seemed to like my orange Mexican Sunflowers.


      2. Hi Peggy, As long as those flowers are native to Arkansas, the butterflies will thrive. Douglas Tallamy has a new book out titled “Nature’s Best Hope” that describes how we can each contribute to the return of birds and butterflies if we install plant species that are native to our local area. Good luck to you in your natural garden.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The milkweed is native to Arkansas. The Monarchs loved the small Mexican Sunflowers. I always try to plant flowers and bushes that are native and help the creatures of our area. Everyone needs to do that.


      4. Yay! This is the best news. Thank you Peggy.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: