Monarchs fly again

Look who showed up again this year.

Monarch butterfly in a glass bowl

That’s right, once again we raised some monarch caterpillars into butterflies. We did this for the first time last year (well, it was my first time and our first time together. Matt did this lots as a kid.)

We hadn’t planned on doing it again this year, but then I found three fat caterpillars crawling on the milkweed in the meadow. Since mowing the meadow, the milkweed has popped back up, but nothing else has grown as tall. I was worried that the caterpillars were very exposed and would be tempting for a passing bird, so I brought them inside.

Three monarch caterpillars

They crawled around in a bowl on our island for a week or so (except for the one who made a dramatic escape and was apprehended marching across the kitchen floor–he had a broader worldview than his two bowlmates), and then they shed their outer skins for the chrysalis. I got to watch this happen this year and it was so cool.

Monarch caterpillar about to change into a chrysalis

Three monarch chrysalis

After another week or so, they shed their chrysalis and became butterflies.

Monarch chrysalis about to hatch

Two monarch butterflies hanging from a mesh screen

Newly hatched monarch butterfly

It was as exciting and special as it was last year.

I’ve seen more monarchs this year than I’ve ever seen in a summer. I’m hopeful that the population is healthy and growing. And hopefully our three are now part of that.

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8 thoughts on “Monarchs fly again

  1. I’ve tried to find milkweed to buy and plant at home and can never find any. It’s the monarch caterpillar’s only food. This is awesome you were able to ensure three survived and were added to the population!

    • I feel like I’ve seen seeds, but I can’t remember where. If I do, I’ll follow up with you. We have so much at the farm that it’s not something I’ve thought about. Though I have tried collecting some pods and putting the seeds in the garden, which has not worked. I love the milkweed flowers too, so I’d like them in the garden just for that. The monarchs would be a bonus.

  2. What an amazing thing to get to facilitate and observe. And they are even pretty as caterpillars! It’s great to hear you’re seeing more this year.

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