Since they had just hatched the day before I had not decided when I might release them. But watching them fluttering around in there, as lovely as they were to watch, I just knew that I had to set them free. Their lifespan is only 2 to 4 weeks and I just couldn't take away their chance at a real butterfly life. Plus I was thinking about those 500 eggs they could lay & thought it'd be better for THAT to take place outside. So I took a couple last minute pictures of them in their habitat as if they were my kids going off to college.
It saddened me that there was going to be no one to share their release with me. (I remember the joy of letting ladybugs go in TX with my daughter & granddaughter.) But then providence stepped in...My dad called. And what do you think he was interested in? The first thing he asked me was "how are the butterflies doing" and "have you released them yet?" I said no, are you interested in being here when I do? and he said Yes! I was so delighted that he cared enough & was interested...So he and mom came over straight away
We went out onto the patio having no idea how long we'd have to wait once we opened the habitat door. But as soon as a rush of fresh air flowed through the mesh the first one started fluttering & headed for the door.
He and each subsequent one would do something similar usually perching on the door as if to be taking in all the fresh air. One even decided to refuel on sugar water before his flight.
Once perched they sat there ever so still then would start to slowly pump their wings.
It was so neat because during this time we were really able to get a close look at them. How often do butterflies EVER sit still long enough for you to get a good look, let alone a good picture?!
I love this picture. She looked so soft and furry that I wanted to pet her but knew I not dare!
Then my dad pointed out that the ends of the antennae looked like it had spotlights on it & seemed to glow! Well I don't know about that but it was pretty cool to get a good look. Hard to believe she has 10,000 eyes, huh?
Then within the span of 20 min. each one made their way to the door & fluttered out. It was a curious thing to see each one take a very similar flight plan over the house as if they'd orchestrated it beforehand. I tried my best to get pictures but these little gals were FAST! I was only able to capture one coming out of the shoot!
See her just at the front of the chair?
This was such a beautiful day for such a thing. The sun was shining, there was a nice warm summer breeze and we were getting to take part of their release & witnessing 5 Painted Lady butterflies enter the world. You'll probably laugh, but it was a very spiritual moment for lack of a better phrase. I got verklempt watching the last one fly off. I probably would've cried had I not been afraid my parents would laugh at me...but honestly, I think my dad felt that moment of awe too and like me, didn't quite know how to put it into words.