A while back, I mentioned that I had a few caterpillars on my dill plants in the garden. There were three until a really strong storm hit - two of them just couldn't hold on to the plant and, if you know your dill, the leaves don't really make for great protection. After the storm, we brought the last caterpillar inside and set him up in our butterfly pavilion.
|Kind of out of focus, but you get the idea!|
Being that this is the age of technology, my oldest ignored the stacks and hit the computers. Within five minutes, he had a few pages printed out that had everything we'd need to know about our new little friend and even a few coloring pages for his little brother. Little Guy and I found our books rather easily, too. They were being featured that week on a display table, so we didn't have to go far! We found a book about the life cycles of insects, one about butterflies, and one about the differences between butterflies and moths.
|We loved this book - I even learned some new things!|
|Can you see the little thread he made to hold himself to the stick toward the top?|
So, we waited. And waited. It takes an average of 10 to 14 days for the butterfly to emerge. Ours took 20 days! I'm guessing that it is because we had a week of very hot weather and I had the sir conditioner on all day, every day. Maybe Hank thought it was fall. Anyway, for some reason, on day 20, I woke up at 4am needing a glass of water (not normal!) As I was sipping on my water, I took a peek at Hank, hoping today would be the day. Even in the semi-dark, I could see that his chrysalis had turned almost black. According to the oldest's research, this meant that a new butterfly was going to emerge very soon!
|The new Hank!|
By the time we were all awake the next morning, we had a butterfly! The kids and I watched as Hank's wings slowly unfurled and as he got used to his proboscis (he kept unrolling it and rolling it back up.) We put some pieces of orange onto skewers and dipped them in sugar water for him. After a few hours of just getting used to the new Hank, he tried out his wings. I'm glad we have the big pavilion because he was able to fly around a little without banging into everything. He landed on an orange and both of the kids knew he was tasting it with his feet. We watched in wonder as Hank had his first taste of sugary orange. It was pretty cool! We celebrated by making orange smoothies and drinking them with straws, just like Hank! We decided to let Hank go the next morning. My oldest checked the weather report and said it would be perfect - mostly sunny, a little breezy, and around 80 degrees.
So, we took him outside and it was quite obvious that Hank was ready to go. He hit the top of the pavilion and tried his best to find a way out. My oldest wanted to be the cameraman, so Little Guy and I worked on letting Hank free.
We were trying to get him to crawl on Little Guy's hand, but Hank didn't want anything to do with us! He squeezed past our hands and flew out. My oldest wasn't ready, so he missed getting a good picture. We did get to watch Hank flutter around for a few minutes before he headed into the woods behind the house. I'm hoping he'll be back to sample some of the flowers in our garden!
|I wanted you to see what they look like up close and, since Hank didn't feel like cooperating... these are last year's models. They are Black Swallowtail Butterflies.|