It's peak monarch butterfly migration season here in Michigan!

Each fall thousands of monarchs make their way from their summer home up in Canada back down to Mexico for the winter. As these majestic monarchs begin their trek down south, their journey will include a stop right here in the Mitten.

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Hey, the 3,000 mile trip takes a lot out of a butterfly-- no wonder they need a break! Here's how to catch a glimpse of the brightly colored butterflies during their pit stop:

When to See Them:

According to Visit Escanaba peak monarch migration time falls between August and October each year; as the site advises:

The best month for activity is usually August, but a visit in September usually guarantees some migration as the Stonington Peninsula hardwoods begin their annual fall changeover.

Visit Escanaba via YouTube
Visit Escanaba via YouTube

Where to See Them:

The butterflies' annual visit to northern Michigan allows them to rest before their big journey over the expansive waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, typically stopping in the Stonington Peninsula, "particularly the cedar trees and lands surrounding the Peninsula Point Lighthouse."

Monarchs become active as the sun warms the air; the best time of day to see them is at dawn or just before sunset.

During monarch migration time in Michigan it's not uncommon to see mysterious, moving clouds in the sky. Before the era of instant cameras the Michigan DNR would receive calls about twisting, atypical clouds floating across the sky. The actually DNR thought it was a hoax until photographic evidence showed it was actually hoards of monarchs making their migration!

Unfortunately, monarch butterflies were added to the endangered species list in 2022 so it is extremely important that they reach their destination safely. Once in Mexico locals will celebrate their arrival with traditional festivals. The monarchs will then hibernate for winter in Mexico before making their annual trek up north in the spring.

So it's not goodbye forever, it's just see you later!

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