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Monarch Tagging in Presqu'ile - September 2023

I have been tagging monarchs annually at Presqu’ile Provincial Park for 39 years, starting in 1985, and have had recoveries from eastern United States and Mexico, particularly the wintering grounds in Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. The first “Monarchs and Migrants Weekend”, an event created by former park naturalist Doug McRae, was held on September 6 & 7, 1986. While cancelled for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Park Naturalist Kristen Osborne arranged for special monarch tagging demonstrations and talks in September 2020 and 2021 at the park amphitheatre, but for park campers only. All necessary public health recommendations and regulations were adhered to.

2023 Monarchs and Migrants Weekend was well attended, with this writer receiving great support from Kristen and Nature Centre staff member Emma, who dressed in a monarch costume. On September 2nd, 385 tagged monarchs were released. I returned to the park on September 5, and released another 534 tagged monarchs. It is interesting to note that some park guests have attended Monarchs and Migrants Weekend for many years.

Don Davis explaining the tagging process 

By mid-September, monarchs were gathering in large numbers in the mature trees at Presqu’ile. One morning, about 1,000 monarchs roosted on several poplar and willow trees, gaining strength for their long journey.

I continue to monitor various social media sites where reports and photos of tagged monarchs are reported. I am sometimes informed by Monarch Watch about noteworthy recoveries in advance of their tagging database updates the following spring.

Watch for a new monarch article in the January 2024 issue of National Geographic. Perhaps a photo taken by their photographer during Monarchs and Migrants Weekend on September 3rd, 2022, will be published.

I am grateful for the continued support from Presqu’ile Provincial Park and Friends of Presqu’ile Park. I thank TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for providing a grant through The Friends for purchasing my Monarch Watch tags.