Thursday, August 18, 2011

Caterpillars pt. II: Butterfly release!

Yesterday we freed our 4 painted lady butterflies that had emerged from their chrysalides and had enjoyed feeding on the nectar we deposited on some flowers for a few days. Rainy and busy days delayed us in setting them loose, but the whole family enjoyed seeing them get so excited about being free to fly in the real world and get out of their mesh world.

But first, let's revisit our little friends. Here Jacob gently moved the paper insert with attached caterpillars to the mesh habitat.
Then we waited. Within about 5-7 days, all of our butterflies had "hatched".

It is difficult to take photos through mesh and plastic! But here are two of the butterflies. The bottom of their container was brightly decorated, and real flowers at the bottom held drops of syrup (we used hummingbird nectar, sort of the same as sugar water). This made things pretty sticky in there but it will wipe up well to use again next year. We may even gather our own caterpillars next time since we have seen some pretty cool looking ones in the garden and around the yard. Here is an interesting web site on identifying moths, butterflies and caterpillars in your area by country, state, and county.

The big moment!

We had never seen the butterflies bounce around so much in there until the last few moments when I moved the container from it's temporary home (our porch) outside. They must have sensed it was finally their time. It was very cool to see and they were gone in a shot, flying straight up in the air. I hope they were able to find some flowers. 

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