Maybe more so for me than for the butterfly.
I noticed that the chrysalis was starting to turn clear on Saturday morning, but in my attempt to move it to the birthing enclosure, it fell off the string. Thank goodness I had insurance with a bunch of towels in the enclosure, so it dropped onto something soft, but I had to get it rehung before it attempted to emerge. As you can see, this baby hung itself by a single thread of silk. It was bound to drop, and better it had done so before emergence because if the butterfly fell on its way out, that could result in damaged wings and a doomed butterfly. I am sure this happens in nature all the time, but not this time, not on my watch.
Thank goodness for Elmer’s Glue (which I probably should have used in the first place.) I managed to rehang it with glue and a bit of napkin so that the knot in the dental floss was attached to something more stable. Then I paced around for an hour waiting for the glue to dry, all the while whispering to the butterfly to stay put for just a few minutes longer. They need to hang in order to inflate their wings, otherwise, they are done for and can’t fly.
After an hour the glue was strong enough to rehang the chrysalis, which I did, and I gave it some fake flowers to hang onto just in case. By the time we got back from our shopping trip, it was out. They need to relax in the enclosure for at least 24 hours, then if it’s sunny, you can release them. I have a recipe for food should they need to stay inside past 24 hours. Though I did put some fresh-cut Buddleia in there just in case. Sunday was a lovely sunny day, the first we have had in months, so after a bit of warming in the sun, it’ll be ready to head out on its way into the great wide yonder.
I had ALL THE FEELS. It’s such a joyous thing to watch, though a little bit sad as they fly away because you know you won’t ever see them again. The whole thing amazes me so. When they are caterpillars, they don’t travel far from their birth. They eat the same thing all day every day, until one day, they know it’s time to go to sleep for a bit, throwing their skin off like a dirty old shirt. Then in those 14 days asleep, they completely change everything about their entire body, their entire being. How do they know where Mexico is? How do they know how to get there? How do they know what to eat? They’ve only ever eaten very specific leaves.
It’s inspiring when you think about it. The possibility for change. The possibility to become something better than you were.
This has been a learning process for me since my getting involved in this was mere happenstance. I am perfecting my techniques for future years though (not just for monarchs, but any caterpillar I find.) I also spent the day yesterday digging new beds for more milkweed and other host plants not to mention that I get to watch 5 more do this, one of them might emerge today, and I am sure I will be awestruck and in tears each and every time.