Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

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-   -   A birthday gift from Mother Nature! (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/butterflies-moths/6323-birthday-gift-mother-nature.html)

tineckbone 06-12-2010 10:30 AM

A birthday gift from Mother Nature!
 
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First a little background;
I REALLY like the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar! Mary and I have been searching for a spicebush for about 2 years and finally found one. I planted it in what I felt was the perfect area in the yarden to do well, and have been checking it every day in hope of finding a caterpillar. I have been seeing evidence of someone eating the leaves as I find with all the plants in the yarden, always makes me smile.

Now, for the birthday gift;
This morning I finally found the telltale evidence of a caterpillar, the curled over leaf. Not only did I find 1 but 2!!! I was on the phone to bridget1964 (Mary) while I was watering (we have some new plants) and she got to hear first hand my excitement and joy. I was in tears. I am still feeling that way as I write this. Mother Nature gave me the best birthday gift I could ask for (albeit a day early), one that no one else can give me.

ButterflyLinda 06-12-2010 05:51 PM

I'm so happy for you! They are really cute little things! I have a few more little ones also...the first ones probably pupated. Assuming those you have survive long enough, watch them crawl around when they get larger...they move in a way that is very unique...I haven't seen any other kind of caterpillar move around quite the same way!

tineckbone 06-12-2010 06:38 PM

I have since found 2 more 1st instars on the plant. I wonder how many more eggs that I have.

Equilibrium 06-12-2010 06:52 PM

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear new cat daddy!
Happy Birthday to you!
Fantastic photo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've got several spicebushes and I look and never find any cats. One of these days... one of these days.

tineckbone 06-12-2010 07:01 PM

Thank you Equilibrium!
I was sooooo happy to find them, you have no idea how happy I was, just ask Mary, I am sure that she will tell everyone!

Equilibrium 06-12-2010 07:36 PM

A proud momma and a proud poppa.... only.... usually it's the momma who knows first. ;) Me..... I would have been running out to a store to buy fruit tree netting to deter birds from getting them that's how happy I would have been. I've really never had any yet and.... I look for them. It's sort of like my martin house.... I hope that someday.... I'll have purple martins.

dapjwy 06-12-2010 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tineckbone (Post 68925)
First a little background;
I REALLY like the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar! Mary and I have been searching for a spicebush for about 2 years and finally found one. I planted it in what I felt was the perfect area in the yarden to do well, and have been checking it every day in hope of finding a caterpillar. I have been seeing evidence of someone eating the leaves as I find with all the plants in the yarden, always makes me smile.

Now, for the birthday gift;
This morning I finally found the telltale evidence of a caterpillar, the curled over leaf. Not only did I find 1 but 2!!! I was on the phone to bridget1964 (Mary) while I was watering (we have some new plants) and she got to hear first hand my excitement and joy. I was in tears. I am still feeling that way as I write this. Mother Nature gave me the best birthday gift I could ask for (albeit a day early), one that no one else can give me.

Wow! so cool and so small. Great picture...and great gift.

Happy b-day, one day early.

dapjwy 06-12-2010 08:03 PM

I have to check out mine--I have a 3 or 4 small spicebush that I started from divisions from my mother's house. Tomorrow I'll check them out.

ButterflyLinda 06-12-2010 08:18 PM

Happy birthday also. How big is your Spicebush? I had 3 about as tall as my legs, but one plant died back to the roots during the heat and drought last summer. That third one came back, but it is just a little thing now.

tineckbone 06-12-2010 09:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Equilibrium (Post 68963)
A proud momma and a proud poppa.... only.... usually it's the momma who knows first. ;) Me..... I would have been running out to a store to buy fruit tree netting to deter birds from getting them that's how happy I would have been. I've really never had any yet and.... I look for them. It's sort of like my martin house.... I hope that someday.... I'll have purple martins.


I am very happy about finding the cat, but I am not going to try to deny any of the other animals a meal if they are so able to find the little guys. I have this rule about not favoring one species over another. I did ensure that the swallowtail will have at least one of the cats make it to maturity though...I gave one to Mary (bridget1964) to raise in her classroom so that her kids can see just one more example of how cool nature is.

tineckbone 06-12-2010 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 68967)
Wow! so cool and so small. Great picture...and great gift.

Happy b-day, one day early.

Thank you Dapjwy!:)

tineckbone 06-12-2010 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ButterflyLinda (Post 68971)
Happy birthday also. How big is your Spicebush? I had 3 about as tall as my legs, but one plant died back to the roots during the heat and drought last summer. That third one came back, but it is just a little thing now.

Thank you ButterflyLinda!
I planted it about a month ago and it was just around 3' tall then. It has since grown about a foot or so and spread out about as much all around. It has been quite happy where it is but it has only been in the yarden for a short time.

Equilibrium 06-12-2010 10:51 PM

"I gave one to Mary (bridget1964) to raise in her classroom so that her kids can see just one more example of how cool nature is." Call it my personal classroom then. ;) I'd be so excited I wouldn't be able to resist tossing fruit tree netting over the bush. The birds could have next year's cats. I'm like a little kid when it comes to finding treasures like what you found. I swear I wouldn't be able to walk away without tossing something over them.

tineckbone 06-12-2010 11:02 PM

It isn't easy because I know the chances of him being eaten are very high. If he does make it or one of his siblings then that will be another late birthday present. The fact that he/she is there at all is the gift to me. I have a very strong belief in all species being equal. It is the basis and cornerstone of my philosophy of life and a fundamental of my faith.

Prairiefreak 06-12-2010 11:11 PM

Boo YEAH! I like the b-day presents nature gives you. Mine was a few years ago when they released the video of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker...and declared it un-extinct...for now.

Is the spicebush a spicebush viburnum?

tineckbone 06-13-2010 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prairiefreak (Post 68998)
Boo YEAH! I like the b-day presents nature gives you. Mine was a few years ago when they released the video of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker...and declared it un-extinct...for now.

Is the spicebush a spicebush viburnum?


Nope, the spicebush is the native spicebush, Lindera benzoin. WE are seriously considering going back out to Steinbeiser's and grab a couple more today.

bridget1964 06-30-2010 08:35 AM

Update!
 
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Well, 18 days later and that little guy is a medium sized guy now! There is little information on the web about the life cycle of a spice bush swallowtail butterfly. A monarch would have been in the chrysalis stage by now, but this guy is taking his time!

Last Thursday, June 24, it was still brown and white. On Friday, we unfolded the leaves to discover that it had shed overnight and was now a beautiful green! I can still hear the kids ooo-ing and aahhhh-ing!

Very neat caterpillar and so unusual looking! I wonder if those false eye spots are scary enough to deter a bird from a tasty meal!

I will post another update soon. I can't wait to see it change to yellow next! :)

biigblueyes 06-30-2010 08:38 AM

ooo aahhhh from here too!

ButterflyLinda 06-30-2010 08:29 PM

So happy for you! They're SO cute at that stage. I've got two that turned green also. I have a cage with screening around the plant where those are. Too many other caterpillars have disappeared.

bridget1964 07-01-2010 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ButterflyLinda (Post 70750)
So happy for you! They're SO cute at that stage. I've got two that turned green also. I have a cage with screening around the plant where those are. Too many other caterpillars have disappeared.

John and I often talk about putting cages around some of our plants to protect the caterpillars. It'll keep out a hungry blue jay, but not a creepy spidah! :spider

The caterpillar ate a ton of food the past few days. I am thinking the growth has sped up, therefore so has the eating. It does look like it's going to shed again very soon. I need to take another photo and post here.

jack 07-01-2010 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tineckbone (Post 68996)
It isn't easy because I know the chances of him being eaten are very high. If he does make it or one of his siblings then that will be another late birthday present. The fact that he/she is there at all is the gift to me. I have a very strong belief in all species being equal. It is the basis and cornerstone of my philosophy of life and a fundamental of my faith.

Your philosophy brings up an interesting question, one that was also raised by Amelanchier in his thread on the picture tour. Both threads beg the question of whether a "hands off" policy in habitat and animal husbandry is wise. In this case, at a time when Lepidoptera numbers are way down due to human activity like habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of alien species, is it still wise to "let nature be?"

Drawing in Amelanchier's point about not interfering with deer herds that are defoliating remaining habitat, is it wise to "let nature be?"

Seems to me in both cases the damage already done by humans demands we steer the course of nature a bit, knowing all the while that only carefully deliberated solutions should be advanced. A no-brainer example, in my view, being the culling of the herds. The artificial propagation of occasional egg clusters of disadvantaged butterfly and moth species, though not as cut and dry an issue as I find the deer problem, falls into the same general category.

What say you??

bridget1964 07-01-2010 08:47 PM

a changing caterpillar!
 
4 Attachment(s)
Well, our plump, green cat has changed again! I had the privilege of witnessing our caterpillar, now dressed in yellow, spin a web of silk around his every changed body!! Here are a couple photos--I am not the photographer that John is, but if you enlarge the images, you can see the silk! He did some cool yoga poses to get that silk wrapped around him! :)

biigblueyes 07-02-2010 04:09 PM

Very nice! Thanks for sharing.

ButterflyLinda 07-04-2010 02:40 PM

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Great pics! One of my two larger Spicebush Swallowtail cats...will probably change color and pupate soon.

bridget1964 07-04-2010 03:56 PM

Cool! I didn't realize they changed colors so quickly. My guy is now a chrysalis. It happened sometime Friday night. One minute his head/face was there, the next, it had fallen off! So weird!

Do you still have a cage around the bush?

ButterflyLinda 07-04-2010 11:12 PM

Congrats on the chrysallis! Actually, I have one cage around two plants...one plant is in the ground and the other one is in a pot. Not the best arrangement, but it'll have to do for now.

tineckbone 07-05-2010 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 70813)
Your philosophy brings up an interesting question, one that was also raised by Amelanchier in his thread on the picture tour. Both threads beg the question of whether a "hands off" policy in habitat and animal husbandry is wise. In this case, at a time when Lepidoptera numbers are way down due to human activity like habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of alien species, is it still wise to "let nature be?"

Drawing in Amelanchier's point about not interfering with deer herds that are defoliating remaining habitat, is it wise to "let nature be?"

Seems to me in both cases the damage already done by humans demands we steer the course of nature a bit, knowing all the while that only carefully deliberated solutions should be advanced. A no-brainer example, in my view, being the culling of the herds. The artificial propagation of occasional egg clusters of disadvantaged butterfly and moth species, though not as cut and dry an issue as I find the deer problem, falls into the same general category.

What say you??


I think that the part that I wrestle with the most is how far do I go to try and make up for the damage caused by my species. I have long come to realize that I cannot make up for what everyone else is doing. I have to settle myself and my spirit with the knowledge that I am doing the best that I can for the planet with the area of land that I can control. I try to educate people, not with a stick, but by example. I have several people that live in my little town that do not know me, but they know my yarden. I don't go overboard, just casually mention that all the plants are native.

Recently, Mary wanted me to kill the spider mites that were on the milkweed and were killing the plants. I cannot do that. I am not qualified to sit in judgment and say that the mites should die. I will create the conditions that they do not favor, but I cannot bring myself to outright kill them. In my mind there is no grey area when it comes to life or death. All living things deserve to live. The things I do are for all the living things, all the insects, all the birds, all the mammals, all the reptiles. I do not say which one is better than the other since they all are links in the great chain of life that binds us all to each other. For me, knowing the dire situation of the monarch and other lepidoptera, just prompts me to plant more of their host plant. I will do what I can to help the population increase but not at the expense of some other population.
I hope that I answered your question.

biigblueyes 07-05-2010 09:48 AM

I can appreciate your philosophy. I have one exception, though. I CAN bring myself to kill stinkbugs and stinkbug-type bugs with pinchers, just because of the amount of damage they do.

Spiders are probably my one fear, but as long as they don't look like they're thinking about dropping into my curls, I'll usually walk away and leave them alone.

jack 07-05-2010 10:09 AM

It does answer my question, and I respect your position - thanks.

I guess I'm more of a medlar, and I'm aware that that too can be a problem. For me, however, the evidence points to a unique responsibility humans have in being the one species that uses advanced technology and rational thought. Surely these "gifts" have benefitted us, but they've also hurt us, especially in the ways we have damaged our habitat - earth.

We are able to tear down, but we are also able to build up. Examples abound. The California Condor was just about extinct when informed individuals focused resources upon bringing it back. Why, even the misguided gardeners who despoil newly purchased land with invasives and power mowers have succeeded in reclaiming the paradise they so ignorantly initially replaced. They saw the errors of their ways and took remedial action based on the lessons they had learned. (An example of which was beautifully told by Sara Stern's book NOAH'S GARDEN.)

To have the power as a species to detract and benefit but then use it only to detract doesn't appeal to me. We have repeatedly shown ourselves to be a bumbling, mistake-prone species; I don't see that changing soon. But we have the power to offset that if we learn from our mistakes and take the necessary remedial actions, which often demand, at least initially, favoring some and taking from others. Isn't this exactly what we do when we cut down the Multiflora Rose and dig out its roots???

tineckbone 07-05-2010 11:12 AM

I agree with you 100%, Jack. We are the number 1 cause of the loss of species on this planet and we SHOULD do whatever we can to change that. I have always supported doing what is necessary to protect endangered species. When it comes to the yarden I do take more of a hands off approach though. I feel that I have established conditions that are favorable to wildlife and prefer to allow nature to decide who lives and who dies. I do help nature along in some aspects but I stop at the line of actually killing something on purpose. I did recently remove a poke berry (Phytolacca americana) because it was completely covered in spider mites. It pained me to do so since that is one of my favorite plants, but I do have a lot of it growing around the yarden. With the current weather conditions, the mites would have spread throughout the yarden quite quickly if I hadn't.

We, as a species, do have a responsibility to try and restore the natural habitats that we so foolishly destroy in the name of "progress" I just wish that there were more people on this planet that felt the same way as you do. If there were, it would be easier for the rest of us and all of our fellow inhabitants of this planet to survive.

dapjwy 07-05-2010 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tineckbone (Post 71089)
I think that the part that I wrestle with the most is how far do I go to try and make up for the damage caused by my species. I have long come to realize that I cannot make up for what everyone else is doing. I have to settle myself and my spirit with the knowledge that I am doing the best that I can for the planet with the area of land that I can control. I try to educate people, not with a stick, but by example. I have several people that live in my little town that do not know me, but they know my yarden. I don't go overboard, just casually mention that all the plants are native.

Recently, Mary wanted me to kill the spider mites that were on the milkweed and were killing the plants. I cannot do that. I am not qualified to sit in judgment and say that the mites should die. I will create the conditions that they do not favor, but I cannot bring myself to outright kill them. In my mind there is no grey area when it comes to life or death. All living things deserve to live. The things I do are for all the living things, all the insects, all the birds, all the mammals, all the reptiles. I do not say which one is better than the other since they all are links in the great chain of life that binds us all to each other. For me, knowing the dire situation of the monarch and other lepidoptera, just prompts me to plant more of their host plant. I will do what I can to help the population increase but not at the expense of some other population.
I hope that I answered your question.

There is something profound in what you are saying. Too few people put equal value on the cute & cuddly creatures compared to the creepy crawlies. I hate to kill anything--I catch spiders and bugs in the house and put them outside. I do however swat at mosquitoes.

Not to diminish your philosophy, but while typing this it occurred to me that I put cages up to protect seedling trees from browsing deer and rabbits...is there some kind of analogy there with protecting caterpillars from their predators?

Just a thought.

tineckbone 07-06-2010 05:09 AM

I can understand the idea of protecting the young trees from predation. I don't really have that problem since my yarden is fenced. I had a problem with people running over a couple of saplings, but not deer or rabbits. I would like to cover my plants to protect the caterpillars, but that would only prevent birds not spiders and wasps and flies. I just try to hope that there are enough caterpillars to survive the onslaught of predators that they face. I planted the native plants for ALL of the wildlife and not just the lepidoptera. That is not to say that I am not disappointed when my favorite spicebush swallowtail larva is eaten the day after I found it. :(

dapjwy 07-06-2010 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tineckbone (Post 71136)
I can understand the idea of protecting the young trees from predation. I don't really have that problem since my yarden is fenced. I had a problem with people running over a couple of saplings, but not deer or rabbits. I would like to cover my plants to protect the caterpillars, but that would only prevent birds not spiders and wasps and flies. I just try to hope that there are enough caterpillars to survive the onslaught of predators that they face. I planted the native plants for ALL of the wildlife and not just the lepidoptera. That is not to say that I am not disappointed when my favorite spicebush swallowtail larva is eaten the day after I found it. :(

Aww...sorry to hear it was eaten. Like you said, hopefully there are more caterpillars that survived.

I have some blackgum trees that the deer *mostly* leave alone. I do not have them in cages...but the deer do nibble them at times. I was excited that one was getting a few inches taller only to find that the deer munched him back a bit. (Actually I'm hoping it is a 'her' so we get berries.) So, I understand leaving things to provide food as well...at least my tree will continue to grow. Hopefully, you will see some more swallowtail butterflies and you will know that your yard helps add to their success.

I can't remember who said it, but our commitment is to the species, not the individual. (Could've been Sara Stein?)

jack 07-06-2010 02:14 PM

I can't remember who said it, but our commitment is to the species, not the individual. (Could've been Sara Stein?)[/QUOTE]


Yes, Sara Stein says "Let European birches go on where they belong, which isn't here. It's the flock, the grove, that matters. our responsibility is to species, not to specimens, to communities, not to individuals."

But I feel compelled to add that this sentence out of context loses its original meaning. If Stein's great work states anything as its central theme, it is that home owners need to FAVOR natives in any way possible. Her work tells of how she waged war with invasive aliens and went to any extreme to extirpate them. She and Doug Tallamy would have gotten along famously. Indeed, I wonder if they ever met? Stein passed in 2005 at 69.

Here is an interesting interview she did with Wild Ones. In it she relates the run-in she had with Michael Pollan when she criticized him for planting a Norway Maple. He responded later by referring to her as a "plant fascist!" Sara Stein is one of my heros. I think a great one!

http://www.for-wild.org/download/stein2.html

jack 07-06-2010 03:54 PM

A further thought - Though Stein and Pollan had words, I look at him with positive thoughts. It's difficult to get most anyone to buy the whole package. So if one makes films and writes books exposing ill deeds against nature, they deserve, I feel, homage.

With Pollan, though, I wonder what about the invasive qualities of Norway Maples he didn't understand...

dapjwy 07-06-2010 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 71171)
I can't remember who said it, but our commitment is to the species, not the individual. (Could've been Sara Stein?)


Yes, Sara Stein says "Let European birches go on where they belong, which isn't here. It's the flock, the grove, that matters. our responsibility is to species, not to specimens, to communities, not to individuals."

But I feel compelled to add that this sentence out of context loses its original meaning. If Stein's great work states anything as its central theme, it is that home owners need to FAVOR natives in any way possible. Her work tells of how she waged war with invasive aliens and went to any extreme to extirpate them. She and Doug Tallamy would have gotten along famously. Indeed, I wonder if they ever met? Stein passed in 2005 at 69.

Here is an interesting interview she did with Wild Ones. In it she relates the run-in she had with Michael Pollan when she criticized him for planting a Norway Maple. He responded later by referring to her as a "plant fascist!" Sara Stein is one of my heros. I think a great one!

http://www.for-wild.org/download/stein2.html[/QUOTE]


Jack, thank you so much for the actual quote and for the interview. I'll watch it when I have time...hopefully later on tonight.

I bought and read Planting Noah's Garden, but never read Noah's Garden. I lent it out, then moved. I'd love to read it again, and the first one, too. After reading it, I remember wanting to meet her. About a year or two ago, I did a search of her name, and was shocked and saddened to find that she had already passed.

jack 07-06-2010 04:42 PM

Planting Noah's Garden is a good, informative read, and not to be cast aside. But NOAH'S GARDEN is undoubtably her masterpiece.

dapjwy 07-06-2010 04:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 71179)
Planting Noah's Garden is a good, informative read, and not to be cast aside. But NOAH'S GARDEN is undoubtably her masterpiece.

I'll have to get it along with some others recommended at this site.

jack 07-06-2010 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 71181)
I'll have to get it along with some others recommended at this site.

I think I mentioned it before on the site, but without question NOAH'S GARDEN is the most influential book on gardening that I've ever read. Nothing in it is about food gardening, it's all focused upon landscape gardening with natives, always with an eye on wildlife.

Though Doug Tallamy's BRINGING NATURE HOME was another great work, it gets edged out on my all-time list by NOAH'S GARDEN!

dapjwy 07-06-2010 08:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 71201)
I think I mentioned it before on the site, but without question NOAH'S GARDEN is the most influential book on gardening that I've ever read. Nothing in it is about food gardening, it's all focused upon landscape gardening with natives, always with an eye on wildlife.

Though Doug Tallamy's BRINGING NATURE HOME was another great work, it gets edged out on my all-time list by NOAH'S GARDEN!


I really enjoyed her second book, but now I *have to* read the first. I can't believe I let this much time go by without reading it. I guess I thought I'm already on board, she'd just be preaching to the choir..but, sometimes that is just what I need.

I've been wanting to pick up Bringing Nature Home too, since reading about it on this site.

(BTW, we have to keep this site--I am finally back to posting as usual...but, I don't want to get complacent.)

jack 07-06-2010 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 71204)
I really enjoyed her second book, but now I *have to* read the first. I can't believe I let this much time go by without reading it. I guess I thought I'm already on board, she'd just be preaching to the choir..but, sometimes that is just what I need.

I've been wanting to pick up Bringing Nature Home too, since reading about it on this site.

(BTW, we have to keep this site--I am finally back to posting as usual...but, I don't want to get complacent.)

I almost envy you, David, as you've not yet read either of these great works. I bet your local library has both... BTW, I've read Noah's Garden six times. There's a poetic quality to her writing that makes each read a totally new experience.

dapjwy 07-06-2010 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jack (Post 71205)
I almost envy you, David, as you've not yet read either of these great works. I bet your local library has both... BTW, I've read Noah's Garden six times. There's a poetic quality to her writing that makes each read a totally new experience.

Wow...you really make me want to read it.

I find myself picking up an old favorite instead of reading a new book...not that I'm that avid of a reader, but even I have never read one 6 times!

I read Clan of the Cave Bear 3 times and Flowers for Algernon maybe 4.

...but, you do have me wanting to read these two--especially Noah's Garden. I was thinking winter would be a great time, but I have more free time in the summer. We'll see.

Thank you for your enthusiasm.


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