Flutterbies

Butterflies are supposed to be the “next thing” for birders.  When you’ve learned bird ID to your satisfaction and are looking for a new challenge, you take up butterfly-watching.  Well, I know next to nothing about how to identify butterflies – clearly for me the next thing was actually wildflowers.  However, when I recently found a couple dead butterflies in good condition along the trails, I couldn’t resist picking them up and carrying them back to my room with me to photograph.  I’m such a nerd.

This is an eastern tiger swallowtail.  (Ah, the wonders of the internet – all I do to was Google “Ohio butterflies” and I found a website with pictures and brief life histories for all the butterflies of the Buckeye State.)  Apparently the blue color around the lower edges of the wings means it’s a female.  I had no idea some butterflies are sexually dimorphic!

This next one is a zebra swallowtail.

According to the internet, this species’ host is the pawpaw tree, a wild fruit tree that’s a really big deal in certain parts of Ohio, though I’ve never actually eaten pawpaw fruit.  There’s even an Ohio Pawpaw Festival.  I only recently learned that there are some pawpaw trees on our property (though apparently beating critters to the ripe fruit is nearly impossible), so it was cool to find a pawpaw-dependent butterfly!

I have today off and so far am thoroughly enjoying my three-day weekend; a birding excursion this morning yielded Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, and a Sora, among other things.  Remember to get outside and enjoy the nice spring weather!

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