The Nature of Things·Video

One of nature's most epic migrations couldn't happen without the wind

Monarch butterflies use steady, strong air currents to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico.

Monarch butterflies use steady, strong air currents to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico

Wind drives of nature’s most epic migrations - Wild Canadian Weather

The Nature of Things

1 month ago
5:09
Monarch butterflies use steady, strong air currents to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico. 5:09

Every fall, steady, predictable winds assist one of the world's most spectacular migrations. In Wild Canadian Weather, we follow a female monarch butterfly as she sets off on an epic journey in early fall, all with the help of a good breeze. 

Each autumn, monarchs take to the skies rising up to 1,200 m to reach strong, steady air currents to propel them south — 4,000 km south to Mexico. 

It's one of nature's greatest migrations. Each butterfly can cover 100 km each day using the power of the wind, eventually reaching a mountain top in central Mexico, the wintering grounds for monarchs.

This female's great grandmother left this forest sanctuary earlier in the year and headed north. Now, it's up to her to return and hibernate for the winter, clustering close to her neighbours for warmth. 

While winter marches on in Canada, millions of monarchs hide out in the warm forest. But as the first signs of spring appear, she takes to the wind once more and begins the journey back to Canada — one that her descendents will complete. 

Watch the video above for the full story.

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