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Monarch Butterflies Head South for the Winter

Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate


Each year, some 250 million monarch butterflies arrive to the luscious volcanic highlands of central Mexico. Guided to the area by an inexplicable internal clock known scientifically as circadian, the monarch butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles to the state of Michoacan, which becomes the butterflies’ winter getaway.

Nature-goers can visit the butterflies anytime between November and March, although the best time to see them is in February and early March, right before they head north again.

Originally from southern Canada and the northern United States, the orange and black monarchs hibernate during winter and mate in spring before returning back north.

Each year from late October to early November, the delicate creatures flee the north’s freezing temperatures and embark on a month-long trip south, flying some 70 miles per day to reach the Oyamel mountaintop fir forests of the Mexican state of Michoacan. Those fortunate enough to live along the monarchs’ route south are frequently exposed to the sight of large groups of butterflies flying overhead on route to their winter sanctuary.

Tags: fir forests, Monarch butterflies, winter sanctuary, oyamel forests, beautiful butterflies

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