Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Butterflies aren't always free

This beautiful black swallowtail arrived in the pasture on one of the pathways on a miserable cold wet day with a huge storm threatening.

It was struggling down in the grass, so I made a mistake and interfered with Mother Nature. I picked it up and took it back to the house, all the time wondering where I could put it where it would be sheltered from the coming storm. I tried the apple tree, but it fell off the bloosoms. I tried on top of some rocks under the spruce tree, but it kept crawling into difficult places. I should have left it...I knew that butterflies must get shelter somewhere, but where?

It was cold - I thought the creature might have been blown off course, on the other hand, it could have hatched the day previously if it had been a caterpillar.

I ended up putting it in a box with lots of air and some flowers - apple blossoms and whatever I could find that had dew on it. I put it where it was cool in the house but warmer than outside. Then I went to the internet to learn more. Wikipedia says that butterflies go under leaves or into the cracks between stone, and other places to survive rain which will tear the delicate panes in their wings.

It rained solidly for four days.

It finally got warm and the rain stopped and I went to the box and found the butterfly had moved towards the opening at the end of the box... but when I opened it fully in the drive shed to give it some protection from the wind and let it choose its way - there is a large opening on the east side where it could fly outside easily - the poor thing didn't move.

How I wished I'd left it alone and let nature take its course - that's what I always recommend to others. Why didn't I follow my own advice?

 A good lesson.

And as if to say that there are still some more butterflies in the world, another black swallowtail flew across my yard a bit later that day, tiny blue and yellow markings catching the sun.


  1. You had good intentions and a good heart! I am like you I hate to see any living creature struggling but I will take your advice!

  2. Sometimes we can interfere and help but most of the time Mindy, we just make trouble, at least that's been my experience. Good to hear from you my friend... be well, best wishes to your mother.