This fall (2019) MSRW is conducting preliminary research, tagging Monarch Butterflies migrating through the Mackinac Straits. Bert Ebbers (MSRW Board member) is heading the project and purchased the equipment and tags. Bert is investigating the habitat used by Monarchs on Point LaBarbe. As well as learning the techniques utilized in capturing and tagging Monarchs, and the data to be collected. This project will lead to the determination of the habitat use, migration period and movement of Monarchs through the Straits.
August 31, the first day of the project, was a good Monarch migration day at Point LaBarbe – we tagged 52 monarchs. This was a group effort, 5 people with nets (Bert, Steve Baker, Ed Pike, Jack Kirby, John and Mary Fix), 2 people (Bert and Ed Pike) tagging. At least a 1000 got away untouched. Monarchs were crossing the Straits or getting ready to cross, so mostly flying fast with migration on their minds. Only a few stopped to feed on flowers which allowed easier capture.
Sept. 1 was an even better day; the experience from the previous day allowed more Monarchs to be captured and tagged. Large numbers of Monarchs were in migration across Point LaBarbe. A total of 73 were tagged over a 3.5 hour period in the morning. The first half of the morning was with Bert conducting the capture and tagging alone, with help from 3 others (Ed Pike, John and Mary Fix) later in the morning.
We are planning to continue the tagging effort on several more weekends, depending on the weather and numbers of Monarchs migrating.