I love taking nature pics and videos so thought I would share them.
The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly is amazing and anyone can watch it. It is a great project for children. I'm sure very few of you have ever seen it happen and probably don't know what actually takes place and how it happens.
The caterpillar lives on Milkweed so is easy to find. They may only be small with not much colour or they will be bigger and brightly striped.
I have a small tank but you can make your own out of a shoebox and siran wrap. Cut a big window in the side and glue siran wrap over it. put a shallow container full of sand and water and stick some milkweed in it. Keep it watered and fresh. Cover the top with more siran and put many tiny pinpricks in it to let air in. The caterpillars eat a lot for several days and then find somewhere to attach themselves. They then hang for about 24 hrs. You will see them wriggling on and off. At some point the antennae will hang down limp. usually within an hour they will start changing from the head up. It takes 2 mins for the caterpillar to become a chrysalis. You can see the wings inside. It will wriggle for several more mins as it shrinks up. The skin will drop at some point. As the chrysalis hardens it turns green and gets some gold marks on it. Watch the video very carefully especially the head area. That is where it starts.
It will be about 2 weeks before it hatches into a butterfly. I'm hoping to video that. I have 2 chances!! Watch for the updates.
You can see the stages of the caterpillar from 1" long to it hanging limp.
This is after the video ends. You can see the wings inside. It keeps wriggling and shrinks until it is an actual firm chrysalis. The skin drops down at some point. The chrysalis changes over the next 2 weeks. The wings become more visable and the coulour changes until it is almost ready to hatch. It becomes transparent and you can see the colourful butterfly inside.
Click on the caterpillar to watch the video of it changing.
A few days before the butterfly hatched. You can see the wings and some markings on them. The chrysalis will often shake!
A few hours before it hatches you can see the wings and colours inside the chrysalis.
Click on the butterfly.
Patience is a virtue!!!! I watched for 3 hours and managed to catch the butterfly emerging. Watch carefully and you can see the shell split and then the butterfly emerges. Once it is out it hangs as it's wings dry and get bigger. The last 2 shots on the video show it getting bigger and bigger. It's amazing to think it came out of that tiny shell. I took it outside to continue drying it's wings and getting them ready to fly. Enjoy!!
Male Rose-breasted Grossbeak
Female Pileated Woodpecker
A Hairy Woodpecker defending his suet from a Blue Jay.
There is a Snowy Owl living close by. He loves to watch you from the pole! I hope to get some better flying shots.
Female Snowy. You can see the mouse she caught in the flying pic. Look carefully at her feet.
Chickadee peeking at the male Cardinal.
Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers
Black Swallowtail Butterfly.
I found some caterpillars on my carrots which I hadn't seen before. It is green with bands of black and yellow. I brought some inside to see if I could watch them develop. I looked them up and found they would become a Black Swallowtail Butterfly. The next day 2 attached themslves to a stick. they had a silk thread coming around their neck and their tail. They just hung from this. I set up my time release camera and managed to film the entire process of the change to a chrysalis. It is quite different to the Monarch which hangs by 1 thread. The chrysalis itself isn't very attractive! It looks like the stick it is on. I hope to get it changing into a Butterfly in about 2 weeks. It is amazing watching it and how quickly it happens. I saw the first change but didn't have my camera set but got the second one. Enjoy!
Caterpillar on carrot leaves.
Two caterpillars attached to a stick. The top on eis beginning to change. You can see it is getting yellower and shorter.
Both caterpillars are now in the pupa stage.
Click on the pic to see the video.