Monarch Watch tagging

monarchs tagged(Enlarge)© Janet Allen
Tagged monarchs ready for their journey

Monarch Watch, based at the University of Kansas, is a citizen science project that involves tagging monarchs. Although we know much more about monarchs than in the past, there are still many unanswered questions about the fall migration to Mexico. We hope that our participation will help scientists learn enough about monarchs that we can help them survive.

We've done this project for a number of years. If you look closely in the enlarged photo, you'll see that the tag has a number on it. Unfortunately, I initially had a tendency to stick it on upside down. I've corrected that. Why is this important? Experts can actually read the numbers through binoculars, which is probably a little more difficult when they're upside down.

Monarch tag certificateThe certificate you can fill out when they recover a tag

When tagged monarchs are recovered in Mexico, they record the information on the Monarch Watch website.

So far, I've purchased only one set of 25 tags each year, and I've had one tag recovered, as indicated on the Monarch Watch website. It's amazing to think that one of the little caterpillars I raised in my family room grew into a butterfly that flew all the way to Mexico!

Some of my other monarchs may have been recovered, too, since (as much of the work done by Monarch Watch is done by volunteers) they don't get all the information entered very quickly.