Got Milkweed? It Gives Me the Butterflies…

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

I remember the song “Love is Like a Butterfly” by Dolly Parton, so when I see one that song sometimes comes to mind. We’ve seen at least four different butterflies that we could identify in  our yard, but I only have pictures of two of them. I hope to change that, but it’s hard to get up close and personal without scaring them away. The four butterflies we’ve seen are: Monarch, Eastern (or Western) Tailed-Blue, Red Admiral, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Of these I have pictures of the Eastern Tailed-Blue (in blog header) and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (pictured). We also saw a smaller yellow one but I didn’t get a good enough look at it to identify it here.

Monarchs get a lot of attention and a number of things like weather and fire ants may impact the life cycle of Monarchs as they feed and reproduce along their annual migrations. But, the areas for Monarchs to find food and reproduce along the way are fewer than they used to be. There are things we can do to help the situation, such as adding milkweed and nectar producing plants in our spaces. We are looking into the possibility of becoming a certified Monarch Way Station, through a program based at the University of Kansas. Though I think making any effort, with or without the expense of an official site number or signage, should be encouraged by anyone interested. Monarchs and other butterflies that stop by will not care if it’s official, but these programs do have good tips on making a place cozy and safe for them.

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