Monarch Butterflies are Back! Highest Migration Numbers in Years

November 28, 2021 at 3:30 pm




Over 100,000 monarchs counted so far this year in California, up from 2,000 last year




Over a million monarch butterflies migrated to California every winter in the 1980’s.

Thanks to agricultural expansion, that number started plummeting in the ’90s, reaching a low of 2000 last winter.

The announcement of near extinction served as a wake up call, triggering gardeners around the country plant milkweed  and cut back on pesticides.

Conservation efforts may be paying off as biologists and volunteers have already counted more than 100,000 in California this winter.

“The last few years we’ve had less than 30,000 butterflies,” Xerces Society biologist Emma Pelton told NPR.

“Last year, we actually dropped below 2,000 butterflies. So really an order of magnitude change in a short time period.”

“When you first see them, they look like the trees are dripping,” said Connie Day who volunteers at the Xerces Society’s annual Thanksgiving monarch count in Los Angeles County.

And when they begin to flutter, we have people come and see them for the first time, and they gasp,”

“I mean, I gasp, and I’ve been doing it for a long time.”