This is a tiger swallowtail. He was the first caterpillar we found this season. Swallowtails like dill, so we had planted several bunches of it just for them to find! Once a butterfly emerges from their chrysalis, their wings are wet and they cannot fly until they dry. That is when we are so very lucky to get to hold them and enjoy their beauty up close!
I mean....really up close! They are such amazing creatures!
Over the course of many weeks, we have hatched more than I can remember! I know we are on at least number 14. I get excited to see a new one emerge every time! It is an experience that we have really enjoyed as a family.
They will hang upside like this for over an hour to dry their wings. Once their wings are dry, they simply lift off and fly away, and we bid them good luck on their journey to Mexico for the winter. It's always nice when they visit the garden flowers before their long trip.
Sometimes it is hard to see those that won't make it to Mexico. We've seen 2 born this year that have had wing deformities and just can't fly more than a few feet. I'm not sure how that happens, but so it goes with nature.
I simply put them out in the garden and hope the best for them.
What a thrill I have every summer enjoy this unique and endangered beauty. It is so simply to plant the annual variety of milkweed for them. Ask at your local garden shop in the spring. I'm sure they can get it for you.
Let's #savethemonarchs together!