Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

Monarch Butterflies and Swallow-tailed Kites by Ken

1.) I attended a talk by Louise Zemaites and learned that they actually band butterflies,  More correctly, they label them but it is the same effect.  They paste a numbered label on the wing as you can see in the attached photos.  In Louise’s case it’s on Monarch Butterflies.

tagged monarch butterflyThey have learned a great deal about their travels, speeds, etc but know very little about those that come to Florida.  Most migrating Monarchs turn right about Savannah or Atlanta and head for Mexico.  Some however miss the turn and end up in Florida.  Nothing is currently known about what happens next.  Do they happily live out the rest of their life here?  Do they breed here and send the young back north in the same manner as the Mexican population does?  Do they turn around and go back north themselves?  Also, there is a native Cuban population which is now considered a sub-species and there are some migrants there too.  Are the latter survivors of ones who come to Florida and continue on trying to reach Mexico from the east?


But we can help.  If you see a banded / labelled butterfly, capture it (gently), read the label ID number, release the butterfly and call the number in to Louise at 1-800-TAGGING (824-4464) or email her at TAG@KU.EDU .

For more information you can check out their blog at .  You can even adopt a Monarch.

transmitter of swallow-tailed kite 2.) One of our speakers next year will be Gina Kent talking to us about her work on Swallowtail Kites.  These guys (and gals) migrate all the way to Paraguay and Brazil for the winter.  In an effort to learn about their habits and travels they fit some of the birds with transmitters. The transmitters are monitored by a firm which charges $100 per bird per month.  Gina works for a non-profit organization which has a few sponsors but is still limited by funding.  As a rule the sponsors who pay for the initial purchase and installation of the transmitters only pay for the first year of monitoring.  The transmitters have a life expectancy of about 5 years.  Hence the number of these beautiful birds they can afford to monitor is limited as they do not wish to have birds flying around with transmitters installed but no way to monitor them.

I will ask members at the next meeting to contribute toward sponsoring one of the birds for a year ($1200).  You can donate a dollar a month (about a cigarette a day), a dollar a day (1/2 cup of coffee unless you go to Starbucks) or any amount in between.  This is our chance to contribute toward very meaningful science.  Please help us reach the goal.