“Milkweed for monarchs” has become the rallying cry for their recovery but having enough energy for successfully completing the autumn migration to Mexico is also critical to their survival.  Identifying where monarchs are refueling during migration is an important part of a strategy for their preservation and a Bioblitz is a good way to begin answering that question. 

Photo by goquilt

DuPage Monarch Project participated in Parks for Pollinators, a bioblitz sponsored by National Recreation and Parks and Scotts Miracle-Gro to look for answers to that question along with many others. The September timing of this year’s blitz was perfect for capturing monarch flower visitations during peak migration in our area. 

National Geographic defines a bioblitz as  “… an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.”  DuPage Monarch Project’s bioblitz included all of DuPage County, ran from September 12 – 20th  and focused on pollinating insects, hummingbirds and flowering plants.  Using the free smartphone app iNaturalist inaturalist.org for photographing and identifying species provided a technology for conducting it remotely.

Photo by Cathy Streett

Turn out for the blitz was strong with 164 participants.  Over 962 photographs were taken with 111 insect and 200 plant species identified.  The most frequently observed insect was the common eastern bumblebee with monarch butterflies a close second.  Monarchs were observed on asters and goldenrod confirming their importance as nectar sources but also in equal numbers on zinnias, thistles and native sunflowers.

Photo by chrisdoty

The diversity of insects identified ranged from skippers, moths and butterflies to wasps, bees, flies and beetles.  Six ruby-throated hummingbirds, also migrating through DuPage at this time of year, were spotted.

Photo by chrisdoty

Want to see what’s flowering and their insect visitors?  All observations can be viewed on inaturalist.org by clicking on projects in the dashboard then searching for Parks for Pollinators: DuPage Monarch Project.

Photo by Lonnie Morris

DuPage Monarch Projects hopes you’ll join us for Pollinator BioBlitz 2021 as the search continues for the most beneficial monarch habitat.

Parks for Pollinators is a national campaign focused on raising public awareness of the current pollinator crisis by encouraging local action and positioning parks as a national leader in advancing pollinator health. https://www.nrpa.org/our-work/Three-Pillars/conservation/parks4pollinators/

DuPage Monarch Project: Communities Protecting Pollinators is a partnership of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Sierra Club’s River Prairie Group, The Conservation Foundation and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter. https://dupagemonarchs.com/