Songs of the Angels

» Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Monarch Caterpillar & Butterfly Updates 2015 | 0 comments

Songs of the Angels

The Miraculous Journey… I am very proud of this lady butterfly. I was just in time to rescue her. I was watching the Monarchs dance in the garden at the park yesterday. Suddenly, a male butterfly jumped on top of a female and they went crashing to the pavement. Wings were flapping and I didn’t want to interfere with a mating ritual, but after several minutes, I realized something was not going as planned.

I came closer and observed. The female’s abdomen was accidentally bent forward under her thorax. She couldn’t get up to support herself with the weight of the male on top of her and he wasn’t willing to let go. I gently lifted them both into my hand and saw that she was motionless.

Luckily, the naturalist was working nearby. She was able to disconnect the male and release him back to his wild adventures. The female, we placed on a flower for further observation. She had a weak wing and trauma from the fall. I sat with her and appreciated her. She began to nectar on the delicious flowers and then crawl. I saw that all 4 of her legs were strong and she was eager to continue nectaring.

Then she flew a short distance and I knew she would be ok. Her wings were very worn and her abdomen sunken in. She has already laid her eggs for this lifetime. I knew this was her last day. I told her how beautiful she was and thanked her for leaving the next generation of butterfly eggs in our garden. I will keep an eye out for her newly hatched caterpillars.

As I left the garden, I spotted another female with very worn wings laying her eggs on the Milkweed. I caught her photo as well and thanked her for leaving more eggs. These beautiful butterflies have journeyed far to bring us this final generation of “Super Monarchs”, the migrating Monarchs that will journey all the way to Mexico and live for 6-8 months through the Winter, and with worn and tired bodies in the Spring, find the strength to lay the eggs for next year’s first generation of Monarch butterflies.

It takes 4 generations (or more) of Monarch butterflies living only 2-4 weeks per life span, to bring us this final generation of Migrating Monarchs that will become the hope for the future of all Monarch butterflies in the wild.

It’s a miracle that they survive this process year after year as their numbers grow smaller and smaller. We are so fortunate to have another year with them. I don’t even want to imagine what it will be like to see the Milkweed gardens without them. Every year the butterflies arrive later and later, and I wonder to myself, will this be the year they no longer come?

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