Monarch Butterfly Migration Through Texas Indicates Species Recovery

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports:
AUSTIN, Texas — The cool front that blew through Texas this week brought the leading edge of the annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies traveling south to their Mexico wintering grounds, and early indications are the monarch population has finally recovered from the severe snow storm that struck overwintering colonies in 2004.

Scientists say monarch numbers stayed at low ebb though the unusually cool summer of 2004, but due to favorable breeding conditions this summer, they appear to be at or above their 11-year population average.

'Hundreds to thousands of monarchs have been streaming by east of Sonora, Texas since Oct. 3,' said Mike Quinn, an entomologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, who said recent cool fronts also brought clusters of roosting monarchs to the Abilene area and earlier reports had monarchs moving through Wichita Falls.

'We almost always get reports of good numbers of butterflies from Wichita Falls, Abilene, San Angelo, to Del Rio as these cities sit atop the center of the monarch's Central Flyway though Texas,' said Quinn, 'but what's really exciting is that were now getting reports of thousands of monarchs as far west as Midland and Odessa. Donna Kelly reported an estimated 20,000 monarchs at a pecan orchard about 30 miles southeast
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Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

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