The Backyard

The Backyard

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Painted Lady, Baby Bluebird, and Goldfinch

Painted Lady Butterfly

Baby Bluebird about to fledge
Back in May, I discovered hungry little caterpillars munching away at my echinops.   After a little investigative research, I discover it was the caterpillar of the Painted lady butterfly.  My discovery is in this post from June 1.  Yesterday, I finally saw the end of the metamorphosis -- the beautiful butterfly.  She was very difficult to photograph; shy and fast-moving.  When she sat down to feed, her wings nearly never opened and when they did, it was a quick open and shut.  Butterflies, bees, and birds are always welcome in my backyard. I call them "my staff."  Working hard and never taking a break, they are the great must-have pollinators.    The bluebird nest box has been in the garden for many, many years.  Each spring, the bluebirds make a nest and try to raise young, but each year they are challenged with sparrows destroying the nest.  One year, I found dead baby birds in the nest.  This year, three nests of eggs were destroyed with the exception of one lone egg which hatched and the baby was raised to a fledgling.  I was very excited to see him fly off into the world.  He was a special little baby this year.  His odds of survival were 1 in 15.  And he made it.  The goldfinches are enjoying themselves this year.  From two sunflower plants last year, at least 50 plants volunteered to grow on their own and I transplanted them at numerous places throughout the property.  The goldfinch are delighted to test each seed head and play around.  The backyard is bustling with activity -- what a delight to sit and watch.


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