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Fall migration now underway for many species of wildlife in Ohio

From monarch butterflies to turkey vultures, the trek to warmer climates has begun

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Find a field filled with flowers in the early fall and it may be all a flutter. Monarch butterflies are coming across Lake Erie. They stop to rest and feed up for their long migration to Mexico, but they aren't the only things moving south. 

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"It's all kinds of cool things are traveling, I mean migration kind of happens year-round," says Tim Jasinski, a wildlife rehab specialist at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center in Bay Village. "Migration is sort of happening from July on, and it's more drawn out that spring migration, but it's just as amazing."

One of those amazing migrants is the turkey vulture. Their return to Hinckley is celebrated every March as a sure sign of spring. Some hardy individuals do stay the winter, but many more are gathering in flocks, ready to go. 

"They're going to get out of here pretty soon and head down south where it's a little warmer and easier to find food," Jasinski adds.

Soaring south with the vultures are all kinds of other birds. Blackbirds. Blue Jays. Warblers. Hummingbirds. All in flocks, seldom seen because many migrate at night. 

"A million, more than a million birds could go over Cleveland in one night and nobody has no clue they're up there. It's amazing," says Jasinski, who is also very involved with rescuing migrating birds after building strikes. 

But the monarchs are visible now by the hundreds. If you want to see them, don't wait. They will soon take wing, joining the other fall migrants heading south for winter.

The monarchs showed up at the 3News property Tuesday night before their great migration!

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