Are Monarch Butterfly Populations Rising?

J. Brad Hicks jbhicks at
Thu Sep 4 05:56:44 EDT 1997

I'm not a collector, or a professional, just somebody who thinks that
butterflies are attractive, especially the big, boldly marked ones like the
monarch. I remember being saddened when I read, years ago, that the monarch
butterfly population was being threatened by loss of habitat. As a result,
I started mentally keeping track of how often I've seen them in the St.
Louis area during the summer.

Now I'm sorry I didn't keep better records, because this has been a very
unusual year for me.  For about the past ten years, my average number of
sightings for this species has been around two to five per year. This year,
I've seen them on seven separate occasions; two of those times, I saw two
at a time, and one time even looked to my uneducated eye like a mating

I do not take any active steps to summon or attract them, and other than
mowing the lawn less often this year than on average, I can't think of any
reason why I'd suddenly see two or three times as many of them. Heck, this
is almost consistent with my vague memories of monarch butterfly presence
during my childhood in the late 1960s.

So, does anybody know if there been a monarch butterfly population
explosion, or has this just been an odd year for me?

J. Brad Hicks  mailto:jbhicks at
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