Something super awesome happened last week! Our "pet" moth came out of his cocoon!
It had been so long that we picked up this caterpillar
I was starting to give up and beginning to think that it's fate was not good and that it would likely end in nothing the way our last "pet butterfly" did.
So, here's the story...I was walking to pick Violet and Henry up from school last October and came across the biggest caterpillar I had ever seen. Naturally, I picked it up to show the kids at school.
We then brought it home to show Daddy and put him in our bug corral until he got home, but did not plug the corral. He escaped, but then climbed back in, so we stuffed some leaves in and plugged the corral up for a short while so that we could share him with Daddy...After we showed him off, we unplugged the corral and then left him near some bushes in our yard before heading out of town for the weekend. When we came back we were surprised to find this...
A cocoon in our bug corral! Very exciting! So, the corral moved indoors to live on our kitchen window sill over the winter and into the Spring. I glanced at it nearly every time I went into the refrigerator, but nothing. Until...one day last week Violet remarked, what's that?!
Low and behold, something came out of our cocoon! We thought it was supposed to be a luna moth. It turns out it's a Polyphemus Moth.
One of the best ways to start a morning I think...
Interesting fact..."Adults of this family of moths have vestigial
mouths, meaning their mouth parts have been reduced. Because of this,
they do not eat and only live as adults for less than one week." Weird, huh.
"The most notable feature of the moth is its large, purplish eyespots on its two hindwings. The eye spots are where it gets its name – from the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus."
I'm thinking that ours was a male (apparently males have very bushy antennae)
Anywho...it was super super cool...so I thought I'd share!
Have you seen the movie "The Big Year"? We just watched it about a month ago thanks to the recommendation of my mother-in-law.
What is it about? A bunch of birders on a quest to find more birds than the next person in one calendar year. Sounds a bit like a nerdy, birder movie doesn't it? Well, then you add in Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black and you've got a cute, funny little movie.
I thought so anyway, but then again, I've got some nerdy, birder in me...
Yup, that's me, way back in college. I did an internship one summer working on a Wildlife Refuge. Every now and then I had to work in the gift shop and I watched many birders milling about before or after their "watching" and it seemed like such a funny little hobby to me. While another job of mine was to assist in bird banding. Now that was a lot of fun! Although, in the case of the Pelicans, smelly!
So, let's just say, that I've come to learn that watching birds is pretty fun. I'm fairly certain it's in my genes because for as long as I can remember my mom has been pointing birds out to me wherever we go (she got it from her mother), and now, I am realizing that I, too, am constantly pointing out who's who in our backyard. (If you've been around here long enough you might remember some of the many other bird related posts...here, here, here, here, here, and here!)
But, it's not just me really, the kiddos like it too! It's a reason to look out the window. It's a reason to look something up in a book or on our "bird map" (what the kiddos call our bird identifier) or on the computer. It's a reason to learn something new. A reason to observe.
So, taking some inspiration from "The Big Year" we decided why not begin a life list of the birds that we see...
To start I made some bird stickers.
FIVE pages of bird stickers to be exact!
Wow, this was definitely one of those projects that I started and then wondered WHY? It was not a quick process. I used our trusty little birds of the DC area "map", which we purchased at a hardware store shortly after moving to the area, as a guide for the stickers.
I found a picture of each bird and then loaded it into a mailing address template along with each bird's name to make stickers. While it did take me several days to complete, it was worth it, because now we have some fun stickers that we can print whenever we need them.
Once I made the commitment and completed the stickers it was time to move on to the bird book itself. I picked out scraps of bird fabrics from my stash and very casually pieced them together. I then cut the pieced together fabric slightly larger than an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of card stock. I glued the fabric onto one side of the card stock with fabric glue, folded the excess fabric in toward the other side of the card stock and stitched around the edges with a zigzag stitch. I made a little pocket the same way and then sewed the cover and pocket together about 1/8" away from the edge.
The pages are simply a handful of printer paper, folded in half and then trimmed up a bit to fit within the book cover. I sewed the pages into the cover with a couple of passes of stitching up and down. I made this little owl button to keep the book snugly closed when not in use.
I punched a little hole through the front of my cover, pushed the button back through to the inside and pulled a small pony tail holder through the back of the button.
On the back cover I added a small brad and covered the folded parts inside with another little bird.
The pony tail holder loops around the brad in the back and keeps our stickers (in the pockets) and our bird identifier snug and ready for a bird watching trip.
And so off we went, to identify some birds...
We've really been having a lot of fun with it! We found six birds on our first trip bird watching (in the cold) and have since found several more in our own backyard!
Go, get yourself a bird identifier, or download Audubon's app, and get started yourselves! It's okay to be a little "nerdy"
In the middle of dinner on the deck Violet is often shouting "Hummingbird!" At which point we all look toward the direction she is pointing and smile. The other night, instead, she exclaimed, "What's that?!" I turned around to see a hummingbird moth!
He stuck around for a bit so I ran in to get the camera, but the pictures were taken a bit hastily. None the less, very cool!
Violet seems to be our resident nature watcher, she's always finding something new and exciting in our own backyard, a girl after my own heart! Have a lovely weekend!
Over the weekend we visited a nearby butterfly exhibit...
And then came home to see our own butterflies in the making...with munching caterpillars and caterpillar eggs... And, we are currently listening to the sounds of baby birds coming out of these nests...
maybe we will have a chance to see the babies take their first flights.
Lastly, we had our first hummingbird sightings this weekend! Alas, no pictures of those guys yet.
I'm Jane, thanks for stopping by! I hope you take your time and take a look around...If you do you'll our adventures in sewing, creating, crafting, gardening and exploring...it's what gets us through the day and fullfills us!
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Questions? You can find out more about me, email me, and learn a bit about the name Buzzmills on my About Me page (found at the top of the page)