Sunday, September 25, 2011

Monarch and hummingbird season ~ coming to a close

Here is a little collage I did, showing the stages of the monarch.  I was able to rear 26 monarchs from the eggs stage and 5 from caterpillars that I found!  I tagged 25 of them for their trip to Mexico.  I have 3 that I am trying to keep alive indoors that have bad wings.  Two of those were from ones I reared and one I found trying to fly around in my yard.  Both of it's wings are crinkled up.  I have been feeding them a mix of honey/water on a sponge, applesauce, fresh pineapple, watermelon, and fresh lantanas!  They definitely won't starve to death!  I'm not sure how long that will survive, but I'm willing to find out.

On a recent trip to Kentucky, for my nephew wedding, we visited my niece's grave and released 3 monarchs.  We also left a chrysalis, that was about to hatch, on a nearby shrub.  She was buried on a beautiful hilltop on her grandfather's farm.  She was killed in a car accident six years ago ~ she was only 20 years old.  It was really special being able to release the butterflies there.  I know it meant a lot to my sister and brother-in-law.

Three of my four releases yesterday!  I love it when they hang around for awhile!

The last of my 25 tags.  I guess I'd better order more next year so I don't run out!

This is one with an injured wing, he also has a bad leg.  He seems to like the honey/water mix in the sponge ~ you can see his proboscis sticking in the sponge!

I found 4 full grown caterpillars in my garden when I returned from my trip to Kentucky!
They have already formed their chrysalis'!

The way you can tell if a monarch is male or female is to look for the black spots on the hind wings.
The males have them ~

and the females don't.  The dots emit a chemical that is used during courtship.

This was a great day!  I had six hatch that day!

My cat even gets in on the fun ~ luckily she doesn't try to get them, although I put them where she can't get to them when I'm not home.

This alas ~ is that last photo of a hummingbird for this year.  I haven't seen them all weekend, so I'm guessing they'll headed south for the winter.  Bon voyage... and please come back in the spring!

Have a great fall!