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Eastern black swallowtail butterfly emerges

We have been raising monarch butterflies for a few years now. Initially we did it as a way to bring science and nature into a more accessible setting for our daughters. It has evolved to become an annual exercise in addition to our hope that we can have an impact on the population.

We have been lucky enough to find other moths and butterflies like the eastern black swallowtail. The eastern black swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly that frequents our region from mid-summer to early fall. As with most butterflies, they begin when the female butterflies laying eggs on certain plants. In this case, they prefer parsley and other plants as opposed to the milkweed which monarchs enjoy.

My daughter found an egg a number of months ago.  Once it hatched, she fed it everyday a healthy diet of parsley.  It entered the chrysalis phase just over 2 weeks ago. The chrysalis changed colour over the last day and we knew by the transperency that today was the day.

Here is a video of the butterfly emerging. I was disappointed she turned the other way but it is still amazing to think they know exactly what to do. read more

Bats love music

We had the privilege of being invited to attend the Ontario Music Festival provincials this past weekend.

As the level 6 students played their beautiful pieces in the hot and humid church, this bat thought it would join us. It flew around the church for a couple hours while the students played on.

The kids were mesmerized but a few parents had to quickly evacuate the building 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAZrSZ6tbSs

Spring cleaning is for the birds

Duck house 2

Every spring before it gets too warm, we open up each of our bird houses and clean them out of the previous year’s nesting material. We remove the material but we spread it in the woods so other animals can repurpose it.

However, we also have 5 duck houses around our pond. Duck houses are typically inhabited but mergansers or wood ducks. These ducks are cavity nesters and rely on us to fill the boxes with shavings we get from a local pet store. We have 5 nest boxes and all of them will see use this year.

Now that the boxes are ready, they should arrive in a couple weeks once the water is exposed again.

(a couple of our 5 duck houses)

(the holes are quite large)

(full of shavings, ready for them to make it their own)

Butterflies go free

Butterflies1

We took a trip to the Montreal Botanical Garden to see the annual Butterflies Go Free exhibit. It is stunning to see all the varieties of the butterflies moving around in utter silence.

The exhibit ends April 24, 2016, so there is still time to catch it.

If you can’t make it, here is a meditative video I made from some of the slow motion video I captured, as well as some pics from today. Enjoy!