Monarchs

The kids and I have been studying monarch butterflies this month. There is an abundance of monarch larvae to be found at the farm, berry picking and generally anywhere milkweed grows. Apparently this is a good year for monarchs as they haven't always been so abundant. The children are thoroughly enjoying finding them, bringing them home, feeding them and watching them become butterflies.

Monarch on butterfly bush

Our first butterfly emerged from his chrysalis this weekend. Unfortunately we didn't see him actually emerging as it happened in the early morning hours. He had been hanging in his chrysalis in a canning jar on our book shelf for about 10 days. Upon discovering him in all his butterfly glory we took him outside to our fledgling butterfly garden. I started it late in the season and hope to have a beautiful flower bed by next summer to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. We gently transferred him to the purple butterfly bush and waited for him to fly off. While we waited for him to fly we saw him actually suck nectar from the flower. It was fabulous. Because his wings were so new we could examine him very close and not scare him off.

Kids and monarch

Eventually we tired of waiting and went inside and next time I came outside to hang the laundry he was gone. And yes it was a he - those 2 dark spots on his lower wings indicate as such. Currently there are 4 more canning jars on our nature table with caterpillars at various stages of development. One chrysalis, one about to become a chrysalis and 2 more just eatin', poopin' and growin'.

This has been fascinating for all of us and I don't know about the kids but I've sure learned a lot about monarchs! Studying nature leaves me baffled, mystified and in awe of God's creation - how great thou art.

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  • melanie

    melanie on Aug. 24, 2006, 2:52 a.m.

    I love the pictures, you capture the moment. That must be so much fun teaching Celine, Laurent and Brienne all about nature and biology. Was that your major? I can't remember. How big did they get wingspan wise? It is hard to tell by the pictures cause they look so big.

    reply

    • renee

      renee on Aug. 27, 2006, 2:57 a.m.

      Mel,

      Yes it is fun teaching my children. I learn as much as they do. I did an Education degree with a major in Biology and a minor in Math. Monarchs have a wingspan of 3.5- 4.5 inches.

      reply

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