Catch, Tag and Release Migrating Monarchs

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     Winnebago Audubon Society is hosting a Monarch Tagging event on Saturday, September 7 (rain date is Sunday, September 8) from 1:00-3:00 pm. This year Shannon Davis-Foust and her family have invited us to tag monarchs in their prairie located at 4946 Broderick Rd., Omro (just west of Omro and to the north of State Road 21).  Watch for the red house on the east side of the road.  Parking can be in the driveway or along the road.  Carpooling is encouraged for space saving and, of course, it is environmentally friendly.

     In all the world, no butterflies migrate like the Monarchs of North America. They travel up to three thousand miles round trip each year.  How Monarchs find their overwintering site each fall when it is the great-great-grandchildren of the butterflies that left the site the previous spring remains an unsolved mystery.

     The University of Kansas set up the Monarch Watch (www.monarchwatch.org) program to encourage everyone to participate in the monarch migration each year.  They provide the tags and you get to net the monarchs, tag them and release them to fly to the mountains in central Mexico for the winter.  Monarchs that we have tagged in the past were found in Mexico.

     There will be a short orientation about monarch migration and a demonstration of the tagging process.  You will then be free to wander the prairie to net monarchs.  Remember to respect the prairie and any wildlife you may encounter.  We will have a tagging station set up to assist you in identifying the gender of your monarchs, recording the data, tagging them and watching you release them to proceed on their journey.  All ages over 4 are encouraged to participate.  We all have an inner child who would love to do this.  We strongly recommend wearing long pants, socks and shoes.  We have a limited number of nets available so if you have your own, please bring it along. 

     This event is free and open to the public but donations are encouraged and appreciated to help the Davis-Foust family preserve and enhance their prairie habitat.  We look forward to sharing this experience with you and discussing the monarch butterfly’s life cycle and unique migration.

     If the weather is questionable and you want to check if we are still going to meet, call/text: 920-573-7828.  Rain date will be on Sunday, September 8, 2019.

      To learn more about Winnebago Audubon activities, visit www.winaudubon.org.

Photo caption:  A tagged monarch butterfly will migrate all the way to the mountains in central Mexico to overwinter. Learn about their amazing life cycle and their dependence on milkweed on September 7. Photo by Janet Wissink.

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Janet Wissink

Janet Wissink is currently president of Winnebago Audubon, chair of Oshkosh Bird Fest planning committee, and co-coordinator of Project SOAR (Snowy Owl Airport Rescue). She loves bird watching, prairies and exploring the natural world.

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