So fun to raise a tiger swallowtail in the backyard!

We found a tiger swallowtail egg on our tulip tree sapling in mid-August and welcomed the tiny black and white caterpillar that hatched August 19. We watched the cat hang out in its bed of silk most the of day and wander onto the tulip tree leaves in our container to eat at night. We loved seeing it molt from its black and white self into a sea of green with its large fake eyespots! Plus, it loved to cozy up behind a leaf in its bed and hide from us. It finally turned brown and formed its chrysalis September 24. The tiger swallowtail butterfly, one of our nation's biggest butterflies, will eclose sometime in June 2016. Stay tuned!


First monarch of 2015 released in honor of military

At the children’s program, “Letters to Service Members,” which was held in March at the Des Plaines History Center, several kids and adults wrote letters to a unit serving in Afghanistan. Sue Fox McGovern, publicity coordinator at the History Center, sent off a letter with a promise to release a monarch butterfly in honor of the men and women who are currently deployed. A 30-year serviceman responded to McGovern’s letter in April saying that releasing a butterfly is a “very genuine gesture and means a lot.”
The release took place the afternoon of July 3 in the backyard of the Kinder House. McGovern has raised butterflies for 15 years and was thrilled that her first monarch of the season emerged on the day before Independence Day. The photo shows the monarch resting on McGovern's hand.

First red admiral of 2015 is almost full grown!

Our red admiral caterpillar has been eating Pennsylvania pellitory for almost two weeks.

We provide a lot of Pennsylvania pellitory in our container so the red admiral caterpillars can hide if they want to.

Red admirals cats like to silk some leaves together and hide in a shelter as shown here.