How do monarchs fly? Why do I see them sitting with their wings open?
Monarchs are gliders - they do not rapidly flap their wings like many other flying insects. Instead, they flap their wings a few time, and ride on columns of thermal (warm) air. Because of this, they're able to fly very high. They've been reported as high as 1,250 meters, or 3/4 of a mile above the Earth's surface!
You could be seeing monarchs sitting with their wings open for a couple of reasons. For monarchs to fly, it needs to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes monarchs will sit with their wings open to heat up their flight muscles. It's also very hard for monarchs to fly with wet wings. If a monarch gets wet in the rain, they may sit and dry their wings.