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October 2, 2011


a white morpho butterfly gets another day

by Andrea O'Connell

At Butterfly World today, I saw a White Morpho butterfly floating in a little brook.

I was looking down into one of the skinny man-made brooks that line pathways in the butterfly gardens at Butterfly World; the brooks meander through trees and flowers, and I saw a large White Morpho butterfly floating, wings spread, not moving.

It looked dead.  I saw a docent/guide in the distance and asked her what happens to the butterflies that die.  She told me they are left in the grass, to decompose as nature intends.

I told her about the White Morpho floating in the brook, and she went to investigate.  A couple of minutes later, I saw the docent/guide had the White Morpho between her thumb and fore-finger, urging it to stand on a leaf.  The poor thing kept falling over.  His wings were wet.

She said, (this sounds corny but this is exactly what she said), “You saved this butterfly’s life!”

Well the poor Morpho looked like it had already gone to the great ever-after.  It kept falling over on its side on the leaf.  She’d stand him up, and plop, he’d fall to the side.

Eventually, he stayed upright, though still very unsteady.

Apparently that leaf wasn’t the ideal place for the big fella, because she placed him on a vine with purple flowers – he had to grab hold of the vine and hang on for dear life.  And he did, and he seemed fine.  (I have a picture of him hanging on to that vine.)   He seemed to be doing okay, but other than his antennae going a mile a minute, he was motionless.

The docent/guide thanked me again for saving the Morpho’s life.  But, she added, “He’s at the end of his cycle and probably only has a day or so left to live.”  Then she added, “You gave him another day.”

And I thought, it’s not everyday you get to save a butterfly, or give them another day!

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Then it was time to visit the birds – and they sure were frisky!  They were very busy as they had nests to build.  (I got a photo of a perfect little finch nest.)

When the birds begin to nest, the staff leaves bunches of little twigs out for them, to assist in their nest-building.  I didn’t see them use the twigs; heck, why use twigs when you have a whole head of human hair to pluck and use.

There were three little finches vying for the hair on my friend, Kay’s head!  First one landed and sat there like a happy statue.  Then a second landed.  Then a third came, but was only allowed to stay for a short minute.  Three is a crowd during mating season, it seems.  The two loving birds stayed atop Kay’s head for at least ten minutes.  She loved it!

I have had them fly in my hair, too, and it feels so good!  Those tiny feet and their little talons feel wonderful as they walk around through your hair, on your scalp.

Their beaks snip, snip, snip away, trying to break off pieces of hair to bring back to the nest.   Oh, it is a wonderful feeling!

It was nice to get the camera out again.  It’s been too long, and I struggled today to get my “touch” back – to focus with precision.   My focus got better as the day wore on, but I need to get out there and practice.

Kay and I spent four hours taking in the loveliness today at Butterfly World.

It was a nice end to my vacation.  Tomorrow reality will wake me up like a slap in the face….

Smile, Andrea!

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 3 2011

    Vacation over….”Reality” what a concept! The reality of seasonal change has driven our backyard menagerie of birds, squirrels and raccoons to a small frenzy. Although we feed them they are eating more and more getting ready for winter. One racoon that has befriended us is now bringing the rest of the clan. I was surprised to hear from several people their fear of raccoons. They are really a defensive animal and pretty intelligent. They are also a very clean animals. It’s unfortunate that their eyesight leads them to get hit by cars in urban areas. They also have issues with distemper and some times rabies. What people don’t understand is that these animals get these types of diseases from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Your dogs and cats would suffer the same if not inoculated. A good reminder to keep your animals shots up to date.

  2. Oct 6 2011

    Again,Andrea; Breathtaking photos that belong in a gallery. I just don’t know how you aren’t hired by say National Geographic for your extreme talents in photography. You are my idol……

  3. Oct 6 2011

    By the way, I thought you might want to post this in one of your articles. AMAZING. It would make for a great article and discussion, I think.


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