Our Butterfly Project – The Final Update

So here we are. All of my monarchs have grown up and flown away. I have about twelve black swallowtails in chrysalis, and one straggler caterpillar I found the other day outside and brought in before a big storm. I worried it wouldn’t make it, so I have one last lonely caterpillar hanging out.

I think we are all going to miss them, even the cats.

As you can see, two decided my hair looked like a good place to hang out. I was pretty nervous that they were going to get all tangled up in it and get injured lol. I carefully extracted them and they flew away. I think it was a goodbye.

I released my last monarch on September 12. I named her Persephone and she took off before I could get a photo. She was quite large, and I believe she was a super monarch, heading for the south. Hopefully she will return to me next year, that would be pretty cool!

As for the remaining black swallowtails, they can overwinter. On October 1st, I will be putting them in cold storage to protect them until spring.

Next year, I am definitely tagging. So next fall all of you down there in Texas be prepared to check tags on monarchs and see if they came from my house!

The statistics: This summer I released nineteen female monarchs, twenty male monarchs, nine male black swallowtails, and six female black swallowtails (of my own). When Chrissy was gone I released about fifteen butterflies that were hers that she had raised. And I named all of mine – all 54!

Starting from the beginning, July 5th, the first day I released butterflies this summer: Arthur Blue, Barbara, Marion, Jerry, DeWayne, Faye, Janet, Larry, Scarlet, George, Peter, Frank, Captain, Wendy, Penny, Loki, Thor, Odin, Freya, Cavendish, Kerouac, Jack, Sarah, Ice Cream, Fitzgerald, Orion, Wilde, Andromeda, Bellatrix, Cordelia, Leo, Oberon, Juliet, Orlando, Apollo, Soleil, Cielo, Cosmo, Portia, Konane, Leilani, Makani, Skye, Maisie, Millie, Jinx, Winnie, Hazel, Mamie, Guthrie, Percival, Primrose, Whitaker, and finally, Persephone.

I may still end up with a black swallowtail or two but my numbers won’t change too much now. I am already looking forward to next year! Next spring I plan on writing a post on how to do this yourself if you are interested in it. It is easy and inexpensive, and I love it. It never gets old watching a butterfly eclose or waking up to see one had been born overnight. Then setting them free, watching them fly high and wondering where their journey will take them next! And just being part of something that helps out their population is so rewarding. If you are curious about the next step, you can read about it here!

I can’t express how much I enjoyed this. I can’t wait until it all begins again next year!

11 thoughts on “Our Butterfly Project – The Final Update

  1. Sweet! I too raised Monarchs and Black Swallowtails plus some Zebra Longwings the past two years. Right now I have one Giant Swallowtail in chrysalis that I’m thinking may overwinter as it’s going on a month now. I released about 18 Black Swallowtails total with about a dozen of them overwintering and two of those went for 10 months before eclosing. It’s been amazing observing and photographing them. I have a video of a ZL pupating. Fascinating!
    Nice photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo Giants!!! I was hoping to see one this summer but I never did. Maybe next year! I hope to plant a few different host plants next year to attract a few different kinds of butterflies. I enjoyed the monarchs and BSTs though this year. 🙂 My last BST cat just went into chrysalis, I am sure that one will be overwintering. And these other ones have been in for a while, so they probably are too. It will be my first time doing that part, I am a little nervous!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful photos of such regal creatures! My son and I did a butterfly project way back when with a homeschool group. One of the regulars, a woman with plenty of milkweed in her garden, gave everyone a ___ fill in the blank with the correct term, but the 3 we had all became gorgeous monarchs and took off on their new journey. This must’ve been quite a fun activity with Wyatt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a really fun activity to do with Wyatt! I was surprised that he liked the caterpillar phase more than the butterfly, but I guess they are pretty interesting. All the eating and inching around. Lol. We have a small amount of milkweed this year; I am planning on adding more in the spring. That was the hardest part of this, finding enough to feed the cats during their super eating phase.

      Like

  3. Pingback: My Sunday-Monday Post – Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs..

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