The Hibernating Butterflies

IMG_4818This winter we had some guests: in the coal store there are about forty butterflies who have been hibernating through the cold months. Technically they are dormant rather than hibernating but it’s pretty much the same thing.

IMG_4819When the weather gets too cold adult butterflies seek a dry place in which to wait for the spring. Sheds and outbuildings are preferred as they are warmer than the outdoors. They are also relatively safe from their predators – spiders and birds.

IMG_4824I am not entirely sure when they will leave. I am also a bit worried that they won’t be able to get out of the coal store when the time comes. I want to encourage them out at the right time, so I think I will have to do a bit more research.

UPDATE: I found more information here. It is still quite cool at the moment, though the spring flowers are out, so I think I will wait for a warm sunny day and open the coal store door.

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4 thoughts on “The Hibernating Butterflies

  1. We’ve had exactly the same but actually in the house. They came in when the weather got colder and the house was boarded up. We’ve since had new windows and they’ve been there all this time since before Christmas. Then last weekend we had glorious weather, so we opened all the windows so they could fly away. We even put some outside that looked as though they were struggling, but a lot of them died unfortunately. Perhaps you could leave an opening for them to escape when they’re ready? Which I wonder is weather related? N

    • Thanks – given the new information I discovered (link at the end of the post), most come out of hibernation in March and early April. The spring flowers are out but it is still quite cool (days under 10 degrees…). I will wait until the next warm day and open the coal store door halfway so they can wake up.

  2. We had a bit of a heat wave the weekend they all started flying around in the house. It was actually really warm, which probably explains why they wanted to go. Bit sad so many of them didn’t make it, but unfortunately I hadn’t read up on them. Hopefully the butterflies in your coal shed stand a good chance now! Fingers crossed! : )

  3. Pingback: Build Day #19 | Edwardian House Renovation

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