Friday, October 24, 2008

Monarch Update

Little Miss Monarch concerns me.

She was released yesterday afternoon after she exhibited the desire to fly while in the house. She had been opening and closing her wings while in the cloche, so I took her out and she took flight in the family room. Yes, definitely time to let her get on her way!

We took her outside, where it was sunny and 60°, with a light breeze. She didn't want to leave my finger, even though I walked completely around the house with her. That happened one other time when we released a Monarch earlier in the summer. We had put it on a shrub and a little while later, it took off.

This time, I decided to put her on a mum on the south side of the house, where the sun was nice and warm and there was a little bit of protection from the wind. A few hours later, she was still there.

Romie and I left for the evening, to go see
The 5 Browns at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert. Fabulous, these five siblings on their Steinways. I had seen them on Oprah awhile back and owned one of their CDs. I'm not a fan of piano music per se, but something about these five twenty-somethings was fascinating. Their enthusiasm for classical music and their talent for presenting it was compelling and we had a wonderful evening.

While we were enjoying the concert, it had gotten windier and colder outside and I wondered how Little Miss Monarch was doing. I knew it was way too cold for her to fly and suspected she was still going to be perched on the mum when we returned home at 10:30. Sure enough, there she was, and I knew she would be there until morning.

In the night, it had started raining, which continued all day today, along with cold temperatures and wind. Early afternoon, I went out to check on her, and she was being pounded by the rain. It was only 47° and it wasn't going to get any warmer, so I took pity on her plight and brought her back into the house.

I got the punch bowl out again. (This punch bowl has been used far more as a butterfly habitat than for punch!) I still had the stick on which she'd hung out for the last two weeks, so I put that in the bowl and got her some orange slices in case she was ready to eat something. Obviously, the warmth felt good to her, because after a short time she started walking around the bowl and climbed up the stick.

The forecast for the next six days is for rain, with daytime highs no more than 53° - certainly not flying weather for a Monarch. There's even a chance of snow flurries for Monday. So now what? Sometimes Monarchs are too late to fly to Mexico and they die. Monarchs born at this time of the year have the potential to live eight or nine months. I want this butterfly to live a full and natural life. She can't fly when it's so rainy and cold, and her time to escape it is running out.

My friend Marsha laughingly suggested a road trip. I told her it would be nice if we could personally take her to Mexico or even Florida. Marsha replied that she is going to Florida in four weeks, and if we could keep her alive until then, she would take her along. Hmmm...

  • Is it possible to keep a Monarch for that long in captivity in one's house?
  • If the Monarch is transported to Florida, will it still find its way to Mexico?
  • I wonder if a butterfly habitat such as The Butterfly House would take a Monarch?
  • If you put a fall-born Monarch in a habitat such as The Butterfly House, will they "go crazy" if they can't fly to Mexico?

Right now, she is sitting on the orange slice and has been there for some time. I haven't yet been able to catch her in the act of sipping, so I don't know if she's doing that or not. I'm going to do some research online as well as call The Butterfly House tomorrow. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for what we might do to help this beautiful lady, we'd love to hear them.

One morning after a particularly fearsome storm, a man arose early and decided to go for a walk along the sea. As he neared the beach, the early riser saw an old man in the distance slowly, yet purposely, ambling down the shoreline. As he watched, the old man stopped, picked something up, and tossed it into the ocean. Then, the old man slowly straightened himself up, walked several more feet, stooped down, and once again picked up something, which he tossed into the sea.

Intrigued, the early riser moved closer. As he drew near, he realized suddenly what the old man was doing. Littered all down the shoreline, as far as the eye could see, were thousands upon thousands of starfish cast out from the ocean by the fury of the now-passed storm. As the early riser watched, the old man bent down, gently picked up a small, helpless starfish, and tossed it back into the ocean. He repeated the same process every few feet.

After a minute or two, the early riser approached the old man. "Good morning, sir" he said. "I couldn't help notice what you're doing. I commend you for what you're trying to do, but the storm has washed up thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possibly save them all! What possible difference do you hope to accomplish?"

The old man paused for a long time, pondering the early riser's question. Finally, without saying a word, he bent down, picked up a starfish, and tossed it far into the ocean. "It made a difference to that one," he said.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Kylee, it is saddening to watch a fellow creature in distress. I do hope it will survive until your friend can take it to FL or the butterfly house will take it.

Gail said...

Kylee, You have a good heart! I would be doing the same thing...I want the beautiful flying creatures to live on always! She is a beauty, thank you for sharing the first and middle part of her story...the rest is yet to come. I like the starfish story, too.


F Cameron said...

Little Miss Monarch is so fortunate to be in your kind care. I'd probably do the same thing...send her on a roadtrip to warmer areas with your friend. Keep us posted on her progress. She's so beautiful! You might as someone on Monarch Watch for a suggestion. I'd also hope that the Butterfly House would take her. Cameron

Brenda Pruitt said...

Beautiful photos of the butterfly! They've been lingering in my yard too. I've been worried about them. I didn't know you could bring them into your house...

Anonymous said...

I hope your little friend will survive. I think some of the monarch's in Florida are year round residents, at least in the southern portion. I see them year round, sometimes more in certain times of year, but in general year round.

It would be kinda cool to have a butterfly friend for eight months with you!

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, I would be wondering with your same questions. Perhaps asking someone on the Monarch Watch or the Butterfly house? Or, keep a watch on the weather. We're to have a freeze tomorrow night (Sunday), but then it will warm up a bit. Or, perhaps your friend could take her partway to Florida? I'm assuming she'd normally head to Mexico from here. I'm not much help. Sorry.

Shady Gardener said...

Oops. Did you see that I nominated you for an award? (I'm sure you've been quite busy with your beautiful Monarch!) :-)

Unknown said...

Awwwww, Kylee, my gentle dear friend. I hope Miss Monarch is doing okay! I seem to remember someone in England keeping a monarch that had blown off course (seriously) in a greenhouse for the winter. I don't know how it worked out in the end, but yes, it can be done...

kate smudges said...

I hope you are able to find out how best to care for the Monarch. She's a beauty.

Content in a Cottage said...

The monarch butterfly with dahlias photograph is breathtakingly beautiful. ♥Rosemary

Kathleen said...

I amhoping the best for your Miss Monarch. She is lovely. So is your story. Please give us an update. Good luck!

blogger templates | Make Money Online