The Monarch Monitoring Project is a long-term study on monarch migration through Cape May, NJ. It is a part of the New Jersey Audubon Research Department, and closely affiliated with the Cape May Bird Observatory.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Waiting for the Wind to Change

We are now two weeks into the field season for the Monarch Monitoring Project.  We've seen monarchs every day, and we're busy tagging every day, but we are still waiting for the first major influx for 2017.  As sometimes happens at this season, we're in a spell of warm, humid weather with winds blowing from the south or the southeast.  These are not winds that bring many monarchs into Cape May.  The current weather forecast is full of uncertainty, with tropical storm Jose churning away out in the Atlantic.  If it drifts close to shore, we're likely to see more winds from the south and the east.  If it drifts further east, however, it could let a cold front push through, bringing winds from the northwest and, in all probability, a good influx of migrating monarchs into Cape May.

While we can't accurately predict how many monarchs might be coming to Cape May, we can predict that our programming will continue every day until late October.  During the last week we have presented our first 4 tagging demos, which are held at 2:00 pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Cape May Point State Park through October 15.  On the weekend of Oct. 20 - 22 our programs move to the Cape May Convention Hall as part of the NJ Audubon Cape May Autumn Festival.  Mondays through Thursdays you can meet our team for an informal "drop in" program at 1 pm, at the Triangle Park, located at the junction of Lighthouse and Coral Avenues in Cape May Point.  Drop-in programs continue until October 26.

We'd like to share a few highlights from the first few demos of 2017.

We start with a short talk about monarch
biology and our project's work.

Then we break into smaller groups, and a member
of our staff demonstrates tagging technique.

Once the monarch is tagged, one or more
volunteers get to be the "launching pad."

Sometimes a monarch will stay on the launching pad
before taking off to continue its migration.
It can be magical to watch a monarch up close!

There's no age limit for releasing a newly tagged monarch.
And off it goes!

We usually have many monarchs to observe, tag, and release.
Come with your curiosity and questions, and be ready to have
your sense of wonder activated!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Don't bring monarchs from elsewhere to Cape May!

URGENT REQUEST: Please don't bring monarchs from elsewhere to Cape May. Two reasons for this:
1. It's bad for our research. We have censused the monarchs migrating through Cape May for more than 25 years; monarchs brought from elsewhere can give us erroneous results and negate a quarter century's worth of work.
2. It's bad for the monarchs. Cape May is a tough place for monarchs, they have to cross the open water of Delaware Bay when they leave here. Monarchs from other places may not need to undertake a risky water crossing if left in place.
Many thanks! Please come to Cape May to see the monarchs that are naturally finding their way to our peninsula.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Come to Mexico with the Monarch Monitoring Project

The monarch migration is underway, with monarchs passing through Cape May on their way to Mexico. In late February, 2018, NJ Audubon's eco-travel program is also heading to Mexico, on a new tour that will visit several of the reserves where millions of monarchs overwinter.  The trip will be led by Mark Garland, Director of the Monarch Monitoring Project, and Mexican guides.  Spaces are limited; for more information, see the NJ Audubon eco-travel pages at