Photo: Land Trust.

Western Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Numbers Drop

Feb 10, 2024 by Jana Hemphill
Overwintering Western monarch butterfly population numbers are around 233,000, according to the Western Monarch Count.

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The final numbers from the winter Western Monarch Count are in and the official tally is down from last year. Similar to the tally from 2021, just over 230,000 butterflies were observed at more than 250 overwintering locations.

The Western Monarch Count is an annual effort by volunteer community scientists. They collect data at monarch overwintering sites in southern California and northern Baja, Mexico.

What does this mean? It means we need to continue to expand our efforts and do all we can to support Western monarchs and other declining pollinators. Remember, historic overwintering population sizes used to range from 1-10 million monarchs— we’ve still got a long way to go to get back to those numbers! We also still need further research and investigation in order to better understand where Western monarchs are going, when they are going, where and when they are reproducing, and how to evolve our care of the land to best support them.

You can get involved right here in Central Oregon, which is part of the monarch migration corridor! Some options include:

  • Create more monarch habitat by planting native milkweed and other native flowers.
  • Limit or completely stop using herbicides and insecticides.
  • Volunteer with the Land Trust to create more habitat at our protected lands. This can include planting parties and becoming a Weed Warrior.


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