12 May 2012
LOVE that banana
I've mentioned in passing earlier this spring how an over-ripe (black) banana can be used to attract butterflies, who will feed on the sugar. Pictured above is a Mourning Cloak (earlier photos here) who was so entranced by the feast that I was able to place my camera lens about an inch away without frightening him/her.
We've been leaving over-ripe bananas in the birdbath for several days now, and the process reached its zenith yesterday...
Fourteen butterflies on a banana at one time!! They are hard to distinguish (they are camouflaged for a reason), but the assemblage is comprised of I think 9 Question Marks and 5 Red Admirals. Every now and then a big Mourning Cloak would swoop down, and the Question Marks would chase him away, and then the Red Admirals would chase the Question Marks. The spectacle was so interesting that my wife and I set up chairs on the deck and brought out books to read while watching the circus. Sometimes the butterflies would land on my shoes or her book while taking a respite from their activities.
This strategem of using a banana for bait may or may not work for those of you in warmer climes where the butterflies have a lot of nectar-bearing flowers in bloom, but up north here (zone 5) it really does the trick. If you have small children, I suggest giving it a try.