“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
As spring approaches, a lot of fluttering butterflies and birds visit our balcony and kitchen garden. Their journey at times bring them around our houses and from to time, some butterflies find themselves trapped inside our houses. The glass windows form a barrier between them and the open air, and they often can be seen struggling and hitting themselves on the glass and on the walls. Although there is space for them to go out, they still need guidance or a rescuer to show them the way back outside.
As a researcher, I know that there are studies that show that some of the butterfly species will sit on you because they are attracted to your sweat – they need sodium even more than nectar. Despite this, when I first tried to rescue a trapped butterfly, it didn’t sit on my finger for sodium or any snack. I believe it must be due to her lack of trust and urge to survive.
In the past two weeks, I did managed to rescue two butterflies (Junonia lemonias and Eurema hecabe). As they are very delicate, catching them by their wings can damage their scales. Therefore, trust is the most important requirement to rescue them without damaging them.
As the butterfly was hitting herself on the glass window, I observed her and patiently kept my index finger next to her feet. I moved my finger slowly wherever she was going on the surface of the window. Finally after 5-10 minutes, she put her two feet on my finger for a while. Maybe she was testing to make sure this human was trustworthy. When she found no danger, she put her other two feet on my finger. I took her to the open air and she stayed with me for a while before taking off. Two days later, I rescued the second butterfly using same technique. If one wants to rescue a trapped butterfly and gain her trust, all one needs is patience and to take great care not to damage them.
Although these winged friends may need an occasional rescue, ensuring the safety of butterflies can also happen by providing food for them – generally nectar plants. Take care to promote healthy biodiversity in your backyard and surroundings because conservation starts with habits and habitats.
And, finally to conclude, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will evade you, but if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.” ― Henry David Thoreau.