Dec 1, 2021 - Things to Do

How you can help count Georgia's monarch butterflies

A monarch butterfly feeds on a bright orange plant called butterfly weed
Photo: Anna Yellin/Georgia DNR

Monarch butterfly lovers need help observing the orange-winged beauties that stick around in Georgia this winter.

Why it matters: Keeping tabs on the migration patterns and number of monarchs — a candidate for the endangered species lists — is key to understanding the overall health of the species.

Details: Monarchs are one of the few migratory insects in the animal kingdom, and every fall, like a retired couple in an RV fleeing the freeze, they head South — in the butterflies’ case, to Central Mexico.

  • The number of monarchs that “overwinter” in colder areas like Georgia instead of continuing their journey have increased.

What you can do: Starting Wednesday, volunteers throughout the Southeast will help the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Journey North, a citizen science program that tracks animals’ migration patterns, create a database of monarch sightings.

Create an account at Journey North, learn how to report sightings and submit observations.

🕵️‍♀️How to spot a monarch: Look for deep orange wings marked by black lines with white spots along the edges. Males have dark spots on the hindwing; females, which are darker, do not.

Spot a monarch? Send us a photo and we will throw your name into a random drawing for Axios swag.

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