Below are Monarch stats from iNaturalist for theEastern United States. I excluded stats from out west, because California has its own totally separate population. Of course that leaves Texas off of these stats, so here they are from Jan 1st 2020 until today: 19,798 observations by 5472 observers.
Eastern United States: Since the inception of iNaturalist, Monarch butterflies are the 3rd most observed/recorded species east of the Mississippi.
This shows that for iNaturalist users, Monarchs are very high on their priority list for preferred species to record (101,352 observations by 33,743 observers).
That said, so far in 2023, again in the Eastern United States, Monarchs have been recorded 737 times by 449 observers. Those numbers are relatively similar for Monarch observation stats for this time period in the previous three years, although the total of 737 observations is a little higher, and perhaps because of me . . . here’s why: So far in 2023 in the Eastern United states I have recorded 91 Monarch observations on 38 different total days combined. The second highest number of observations is 9, which means no one else in the Eastern United States has recorded Monarchs on more than 9 different days in 2023, less than ¼ as many days as me.
2020 Jan 1st through April 10th 439 observers made 656 observations of Monarchs (most was 55).
2021 Jan 1st through April 10th 399 observers made 560 observations of Monarchs (most was 10).
2022 Jan 1st through April 10th 462 observers made 723 observations of Monarchs (most was 35).
2023 Jan 1st through April 10th 449 observers made 737 observations of Monarchs (most was 91, me).
Of note: First of all, I do not travel to other locations hoping to boost my numbers. All of my observations have come on one property. Second of all, I have been very careful to not bloat my numbers by photographing the same Monarch multiple times. I only post Monarchs that I know are individual specimens seen in a short period of time, but also try to post the first and last I see on most days. My numbers could very easily be ten times higher than the fairly conservative number of posts I have made.
I don’t know exactly what all this signifies, and in fact find it very difficult to wrap my head around it. I have not done very much (yet) to alter the property to attract more Monarchs, but I have done a few things and have learned some valuable lessons in my close observations of the Monarch butterflies here. The most significant is how I have witnessed the males cruising an area where nectar sources are good, waiting for a female to come along. The males do of course stop and feed some, but spend far more time cruising the area than they do feeding.
Now, going back to what I started with, if Monarchs appear to be such a high priority for iNaturalist users (since January 1st, 2020 they are still the 5th most posted observation!), why am I so dominating the recording of the species this year, especially since I am only recoding on one fairly small property (less than eight acres that isn’t heavily wooded swamp, pond, heavily forested, or buildings)???
Furthermore, since migrating Monarchs went on the endangered species list just last year, you would think that more iNat users would be making them a higher priority observation to post.