We’ve really enjoyed observing our butterflies, from caterpillar to chrysalis, then emerging as butterflies. But now it’s time to let the ‘older’ two fly away.

Release attempt 1

Cian said goodbye to our butterflies. They had been renamed in their time with us from caterpillar -> to chrysalis -> to butterfly.

Their names were:

Cater -> Chrys -> Butter

Pillar -> Alis -> Fly

Colin -> Dr. Xand -> Keith

Keith only emerged this morning. A butterfly needs time to expand and dry it’s wings and recover after their prolonged and complex transformation. It also needs time for the proboscis (tongue) to fuse. This is covered in detail here.

As Keith was still resting, we decided to remove the chrysalis station from the butterfly house. That left Butter and Fly.

We lay the butterfly house on it’s side in the hope it would encourage the butterflies to fly out. Cian was very hopeful they might land on the fruit in their hands.

There is a lot of waiting involved when releasing butterflies. We have lots of videos of the waiting but managed to miss both Butter and Fly finally fluttered out.

This was the moments after Butter decided to leave the butterfly house. I managed to get a very blurry picture of it in front of Cian’s left knee and Liam just caught it flying away on video..

It was then back to waiting, with Keith still happy on the chrysalis station and Fly left in the butterfly house.

It was quite windy, so one of the chrysalides blew off the chrysalis station, startling Keith, who hopped on to the floor. Cian was explaining that it doesn’t matter if the chrysalis shell flew away now. He laid out the options to Fly and Keith.

This was Fly preparing to leave the butterfly house. Just as he was flapping, preparing to fly, my camera battery died and Fly had flown away by the time I turned round to grab my phone behind me.

Seeing as Keith was still on the ground, we lay the opening to the empty butterfly house next to him and he crawled in.

Release attempt 2

Ioan opened the butterfly house in the hope that Keith would be ready to fly away today.

Finny tempted fate when he said that Keith would be a lot quicker to leave than Butter and Fly.

After about an hour, with no sign of Keith flying out on his own, Cian quietly put his hand inside the butterfly house to see if Keith would climb on, then he could lift him out. Keith put his two front legs on Cian’s hand but just stayed stationary for about 20 minutes. In this time, Cian barely moved a muscle.

An hour and a half later we gave up and brought Keith back inside for another night.

Release attempt 3

It was a lovely sunny day and Keith seemed to have a lot more energy today, so we were keeping our fingers crossed.

It took less than two minutes for Keith to fly away today.

These were some of the stills from the video:

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

ELG 14 – The world:

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.