Outdoor Radio: Tracking The Monarch Butterfly

Aug 17, 2016

Monarch butterflies are hard to miss with their brilliant orange color and a wingspan that can reach four inches across. But recently they've been difficult to find because their numbers are in decline.

In this edition of Outdoor Radio, biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland track Monarchs in the flower-filled fields of the Burlington Intervale. We'll learn how Monarchs migrate to Mexico and the challenges to their survival.

"There's a lot of different butterflies here. There are 105 different species of butterflies in Vermont," says McFarland. "And we're after one of them."

More Information On Tracking Butterflies:

Monarch Watch: lots of information and you can order tags from them to tag Monarchs on migration.
Journey North: you can post your Monarch sightings here and see the progress of spring and fall migration across North America.
The Monarch Lab: join the Monarch larvae monitoring program.
Mission Monarch: join this project to help track Monarchs across Canada.
e-Butterfly.org: A crowd-sourced site where you can add all your butterfly sightings from across North America.
Monarch Joint Venture: More than 50 conservation, education and research partners from across the United States are working together to conserve the Monarch migration.

This Monarch has a tag that was placed on it a few years ago. There have been 16 Monarchs that were tagged in Vermont and found in the mountains in Mexico where they winter.
Credit Kent McFarland / Vermont Center for Ecostudies

Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with The Vermont Center for Ecostudies and is made possible in part by the Byrne Foundation. The program is produced by VPR's chief audio engineer Chris Albertine.