Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Pilot Projects

The Cape May Monarch Migration Monitoring Program

Cape May Bird Observatory

United States


Agency Type

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat

Original Language

There are many long-term monarch migration monitoring programs that conduct counts of adult monarchs at set locations each year. These surveys are conducted by citizen science volunteers driving or walking routes and documenting all adult monarchs sighted. These locations are often determined because of the geographic significance for monarchs. For example, “The Cape May monarch migration monitoring program is located in the coastal town of Cape, May, NJ. This project is the longest-running monarch migration monitoring project in North America, and is one of the best sources of information on the status of monarch populations that migrate along the Atlantic coast. This program was initiated in 1990 by Dick Walton and Lincoln Brower, and involves driving a fixed route through the town three times daily during the fall months, and all monarchs seen are counted.

The Cape May monarch program also involves capturing and tagging monarchs with uniquely numbered stickers (not the same as MonarchWatch stickers), and there is a large outreach component to the project; since this site is frequented by thousands of tourists and birders, the monarch team regularly gives monarch demonstrations at the hawkwatch pavilion” (MonarchNet 2015). The Cape May monitoring project is along a major migration route for the eastern monarch population’s fall migration. is a source for locating citizen science adult monarch count surveys across the US.

Keywords: ,