According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, now's the time to look outside!

By Southern Living
October 16, 2019

Look to the sky, Central Texas!

Monarch butterflies are in the midst of their annual southerly journey through the Austin area toward warmer weather in Mexico. And this year's population is reportedly much larger than past years, which spells good news for butterfly watchers.

DebraLee Wiseberg / Getty Images

Lee Clippard, the director of communications at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, told KUT that he started seeing the monarchs stream in Sunday—just in time to dine on the nectar plants that recently began to bloom. But they won't be around for long. Clippard recommends that butterfly watchers go outside now. As in right now.

"How long they're in the area will probably right now depend on the cold fronts that are coming in and what's going on weather-wise over the next couple weeks," he said.

Related: How City Dwellers Are Saving Bees and Butterflies from Extinction with Plants

To attract migrating monarchs to your yard, Clippard suggests expanding gardens and removing lawn—even just a small patch—to make space for nectar plants or milkweed.  Milkweed gives monarchs a place to lay their eggs the spring while nectar plants provide energy via food.

"If you think about a monarch butterfly ... that may have been flying all the way from Canada. That's made her way here to Texas, and she's flying across your neighborhood and all she sees is green, that looks like a desert," he told KUT. "And if she sees one, happy purple Gregg's mist flower, or fall aster, or Maximilian sunflower growing in your backyard, she's going to find relief."

This article originally appeared on Southern Living by Meghan Overdeep.

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