monarch butterfly migration

This is why monarch butterflies are everywhere in Toronto this year

If you feel like you've spotted way more orange and black butterflies than usual around Toronto this summer, you're not mistaken. 

Monarch butterflies are flying all over the city, and many people are wondering how that's possible after the species' population reached an all-time low in 2010

One person even took to reddit to post a video of a monarch sitting on the baseball glove of a player at a Blue Jays Game. 

"Some of you may have noticed the explosion in Monarch butterflies in Toronto this year, they were all over the Skydome for last night's baseball game," the reddit user wrote along with the video. 

The post now has 88 comments, many of which cite different reasons for the return of the species. 

"Best guess is that the push in gardening for planting butterfly friendly plants and leaving milkweed alone has been successful. People are becoming more conscious of what they plant in their gardens and it's a really fantastic positive change," one user wrote. 

According to the Canadian Press, tens of millions of monarchs migrate from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico every year.

In recent decades, the number of butterflies making the trek decreased drastically, which gave scientists reason for concern. 

But a 2018 survey suggests population numbers were up 144 per cent from 2017.

Canadian wildlife officials told CP that $14 million has been spent on the butterflies since 2012, and there's also been a behavioural change to encourage people to plant milkweed. 

According to CP, Ontario and Quebec both contain important monarch breeding grounds and about a third of the butterflies that migrate to Mexico have been found to come from Canada or the northern United States.

This past year, the migration and overwintering population in Mexico was the highest it's been in 12 years, according to a report from Cornell.

Clearly, proactive measures are having a positive effect, and hopefully Toronto's skies will continue to fill with butterflies for years to come. 

Lead photo by

Chris Chow


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