Western Monarch Day

Every February 5th is observed as Western Monarch Day—a holiday that celebrates the end of the Western Monarch butterfly wintering in California. These butterflies shelter in Californian trees by November. They are the population of butterflies that are celebrated with an official holiday in California and have been since the early 2000s.

Hundreds of thousands of these butterflies spend November through February/March along the California coast, and one of the biggest populations is in Pismo Beach. Anyone who loves these beautiful creatures or wants to join in on efforts to protect their populations will definitely want to observe this holiday.

The History of Western Monarch Day

In 2004, the state of California declared February 5th as California Western Monarch Day. It made sense considering that such a large number of these butterflies end up wintering west of the Rockies during the winter months.

The main goal of this holiday was not only to educate the public about these butterflies but also to increase tourism in the area so that more people can witness these majestic congregations of butterflies.

Some Amazing Facts About the Western Monarch

Below are some amazing facts about the Western Monarch that we feel everyone reading this article today is going to find very interesting. Let’s take a look at the following facts and learn a little bit more about these beautiful butterflies.

  • Seven U.S. states list the Monarch Butterfly as their official state butterfly or insect.
  • In North America, these butterflies not only overwinter along the California coast but also in Mexico.
  • The butterflies’ orange and black wings signal to predators that they taste bad.
  • Monarchs retain the cardiac glycosides from the milkweed they eat. This makes them poisonous to most vertebrates.
  • Male monarchs have a black scent spot on a vein of each hind wing. Females do not.
  • A female monarch will lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime.
  • Breeding monarchs only live a maximum of 5 weeks.
  • Monarch butterflies eat plants in the milkweed family only.
  • Monarch butterflies are found across the U.S., southern Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal.

Observing Western Monarch Day

There are a number of different ways for people to observe this holiday. They can take the time to visit Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, they can learn more about the Western Monarch and the challenges they face nowadays, or they can plant milkweed plants to feed migrating butterflies in their area. Butterfly enthusiasts are also encouraged to spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #WesternMonarchDay on social media.

When is it?
This year (2024)
February 5 Monday
Next year (2025)
February 5 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
February 5 Sunday