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Old 09-07-2008, 12:35 AM   #1
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Butterfly Hospital
On Wednesday, I believe it was, my son, daughter, and I walked out the front door to take my daughter to school. When we stepped outside, we saw a beautiful Monarch butterfly lying on the ground. There was a spot on the porch, where the butterfly was, that was soaking wet, and it was lying still so I thought for sure it was dead. I leaned over to touch it to see if it might still be alive and sure enough, it was!

I picked up the butterfly, held it in my hand and the poor thing kept trying to flap its wings but it just fell to one side and couldn't fly. Could barely even keep its balance.

My next door neighbor had flowers on the side of his house that attracted butterflies so I decided to put the butterfly over with the flowers to keep it safe.

I took my daughter to school, came home, did all my chores, blah, blah, blah, and finally my son and I had to leave to pick up my daughter from school.

We get back from picking up my daughter and decide to go over to my neighbors house to check on the butterfly. That poor thing was still there, clinging on to a branch, trying desperately to fly. I knew if I left that butterfly there, it would for sure die. Either the ants would get it, or, my neighbors cat would get it. My daughter started balling at the thought of the butterfly dying and I was trying to think of what I could do to save it.

Finally I remembered my daughter has a little screened in cage specifically for keeping bugs in. I asked her to get the cage so we could put the butterfly in there. She came back out and we picked some flowers and grass and put them in the cage with the butterfly.

We went in the house, with the butterfly, and I got on the computer to see if it was ok to give butterflies sugar water. I found some feeding instructions and proceeded to make some sugar water for the butterfly. I put the sugar water on a bit of waded up toilet paper, and, I got an orange slice for it as well (the instructions said butterflies will "eat" oranges too).

We kept checking on the butterfly throughout the rest of the day but that poor thing just wouldn't move. I thought, man, we're gonna wake up tomorrow and the butterfly will be dead. I was preparing to comfort my daughter in case the butterfly died overnight.

We woke up the next morning and the butterfly was in the same spot, but alive! It still wasn't eating so I tried picking it up and moving it closer to the sugar water wad. Finally, later in the afternoon on Thursday, the butterfly started "eating" the sugar water! It was so cute! It "ate" for the longest time and it apparently needed it because that sweet thing totally perked up! I was looking at it and it kept moving its head like it was trying to figure me

Friday it ate some more and was starting to move its wings and fly a little bit. It was rainy most of Friday, and cool, so I decided it would be best to keep the butterfly in the cage for the time being. Later in the day the butterfly was flapping its wings a lot and it looked like it might be able to totally fly again, and, it had stopped raining and the sun was starting to come out. I explained to my daughter that if the butterfly could fly again we'd have to let it go. She was sad, but understood. So, we went outside and tried putting the butterfly back by my neighbors flowers. The butterfly did end up flying a little, but only to one of the bushes in my front yard. We left him there and went inside. It was still cool outside so I decided if the butterfly was still on the bush at dark, I would bring it back in. I was afraid it would get too cold and the butterfly wouldn't survive.

So, it was about 7:30 and I went outside and sure enough, the butterfly was still there. I scooped him back up, put him back in the cage and gave him some fresh sugar water. He was moving around a lot and eating so I thought, man, this butterfly is gonna make it!

Woke up today and I asked my daughter how the butterfly was. She brought me the cage and said, "he's just laying there." I felt my heart sink. Seriously, I had that tingly feeling in my stomach and everything! I opened the cage, put my hand in and he moved! He started flapping his wings and flying around! I was so happy!

It was really nice out today and sunny for the most part and I told my daughter we had to let him go. I explained to her that we saved him by taking care of him until he could fly again and that we had to let him go. She understood and we went outside.

I opened up the cage and put the butterfly in my hand. I sat down on the porch swing and the butterfly just sat in my hand for a while. I was talking to him and told him it was ok to go, that he could fly again. I swear to you, the butterfly turned his head toward me and then just flew away. We watched him until we couldn't see him anymore.

What's quite humorous though is during the course of this, word must have spread in the butterfly community that we had a butterfly hospital going on because on Thursday we found ANOTHER Monarch on our porch that couldn't fly! We put that one in the cage one recovered quickly and could fly the next day so we released him on Friday.

Here's a pic of the Monarch we cared for for 4 days.
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Old 09-07-2008, 12:43 AM   #2
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That's a great story, and it's so cool that your daughter was able to experience it! Beautiful photo, too -- I've always loved monarchs, but I haven't seen very many of them lately.

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Old 09-07-2008, 12:45 AM   #3
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Aww! It just goes to show that all life is precious, no matter how big or small. That's a beautiful story, and a beautiful butterfly, and I'm so glad that it pulled through and was able to fly away again.

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Old 09-07-2008, 12:55 AM   #4
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great learning experience for her too.
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Old 09-07-2008, 03:50 AM   #5
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Wonderful story and thanks for sharing....
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:49 AM   #6
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That's so great!
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:26 AM   #7
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What a great lesson about nurturing and respecting life you are teaching your kids - fantastic!
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:30 AM   #8
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Wow. I don't know that such a thing would have occurred to me. You are lucky to have monarchs in your area.
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:15 AM   #9
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That is so awesome! Butterflies are such beautiful creatures. Every year my class gets to watch the life cycle of painted lady butterflies, and they are always so sad when it's time to release them, but it's such an awe inspiring sight to see them take flight and fly away.
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Old 09-07-2008, 04:17 PM   #10
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What a great story. It's so rewarding to help a living creature survive.
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