My tiny yard, squeezed between a storage facility and a freeway exit, will never be much of a butterfly sanctuary. But I’m considering trying a puddler like the one described in the video; I already keep a shallow plastic saucer next to my ‘tomato garden’ (driveway extension) as a bird-and-chipmunk waterer, and I’ll be buying more composted manure for this year’s transplants anyway. However, since there are also mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits, racoons, foxes, and the occasional possum… no rotting fruit!
It’s amazing, and heartening, how far some people will go to nurse butterflies. From the Washington Post, “This costume designer repaired a butterfly’s wing, then watched in delight as it flew away”:
Romy McCloskey is a costume designer by training, with a specialty in intricate bead work that demands precision. She also raises and releases monarch butterflies at her Texas home.
It just so happened that these two skills intersected on a recent day when she actually performed surgery on one of her injured monarch’s wings, an operation that saved its life and allowed it to fly away to migrate…
The butterfly catastrophe-turned-victory tale began a few weeks ago when McCloskey was at her home in suburban Houston and looked over at her cocoons, only to see her house cat Floki swatting at them, thinking they were toys. Floki’s paw had knocked one down, fatally injuring it, and left another damaged…
A few days later, she watched as butterflies started to emerge, from the cracked cocoon and eight others. The one with the cracked cocoon came out with a mangled wing and was unable to fly…
She put a picture of the broken wing on Facebook, and a friend sent her a step-by-step tutorial video that showed how to fix it.
She took out the tools she needed: tweezers, small scissors, glue, a wire hanger, a towel and talcum powder. She also had a spare wing from a butterfly that had died days earlier. She had kept the butterfly thinking it was beautiful and that she might display it in a shadow box on her wall. But instead, she said she found a better use for it.
A migrating monarch — which can live for several months — doesn’t have nerve endings in its wings, so she wasn’t concerned about hurting it. As the video instructs, she immobilized the butterfly by placing a wire hanger over its body, then carefully cut the mangled wing away and glued the replacement wing on what remained of the injured wing. She waited for the glue to dry, then sprinkled a small amount of talcum powder on the wings to prevent them from sticking together due to any glue that had not fully dried.
The whole thing took 10 minutes…
Happy ending, pictures and video at the link. And, yes, there are multiple tutorials on YouTube!
Picked up a few acidantherus (peacock gladiolus) corms at last weekend’s Boston Flower Show. I’m too lazy/disorganized to ‘lift’ bulbs every fall, but there’s a brave handful of pink & white glads left over from before we bought this house (25 years ago!) which still bloom in a protected area of the front yard. Since the feral Siberian irises that share that bed are crowding each other and everything else but the rampant ailanthus shoots to death, this spring’s project is going to be digging up the whole queen-bed-sized patch and starting over… after the daffs have finished blooming, of course.
What’s going on in your garden(s) (planning) this week?