Our First Black Swallowtail Butterfly Emerges and Takes Flight

This past Friday morning while I was down with a massive head cold (and side-show migraine) and my husband was shuffling the girls off to school and himself off to work, I finally managed to walk into the kitchen to see my son.

But before I could say a word to him, I locked eyes on this guy waiting to break free… (his chrysalis is on a stem of dried out coreopsis from our garden)…

I immediately felt bad the girls were so busy they didn’t notice the little thing working his way out during their breakfast, and that I couldn’t get my act together enough to bring him to the school. All I could really feel was the little guy’s sense of urgency to get out into the world. But they have fortunately experienced many butterflies in years past, and watched the entire beginnings of this life cycle, and all the little caterpillars munching away at our fennel and parsley.

It was my son’s first time really seeing a newly hatched butterfly so he was a little in shock (he was a baby the last time we attempted to bring these guys in). The beauty and miracle of this hatching out of that tiny, mute chrysalis took away all pain I was previously feeling and I got right to work.

When I broke the news it was time to let him go, kid three collapsed on the patio and bawled. But after a good 30s of that, he pulled himself together and realized the thing needed to eat and helped me pull the lid off to give it some warm sun.

Raised on healthy portions of our garden parsley and its flowers.

Kid three reluctantly allowed the butterfly to perch on his wrist to catch some rays, and just as I was about to snap a photo of the adorable moment – it was warm enough to flutter down the alleyway and perch on our shed.

I raced down and took this last photo before it right away ascended two stories straight up and over the roof of our house, over the treetops in search of its first meal, I assume. Bon voyage.

Black swallowtails exhibit sexual dimorphism.
Middle child and I examined some photos to ID this as a male due to the prominent upper yellow band (females have a more broad upper blue band).

Dear little butterfly, thank you for sharing your life’s journey with my children. It’s been a true gift.

Prior posts on our summer black swallowtail observations:




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