Monarch Update

I am happy to report that today was Cinnamon's first day back at the bird store! Melissa hit the nail on the head when she exclaimed that Cinnamon was feeling her Wheaties. She was into all kinds of bunny mischief including sneaking into the back room, trying to eat some milkweed and shamelessly following customers around the store begging for food. At one point she ran intense laps around the bird bath display and eventually kicked out in total relaxation near the card rack (left). There was some minor disapproval over the removal of a favorite deer chow block, but it was the vet's strict order that treats be cut back.

Our monarch ranch at the bird store is just bustling with activity. There are at least seven chrysalises, dozens of caterpillars in all sizes and one egg. We have been able to watch a caterpillar shed its skin (below). You can see the old head coming off at the bottom of the new head and the old skin is the dark stuff being pushed of the back end of the caterpillar.

On Saturday we got to watch a caterpillar go from the "J" position to shedding its skin and becoming a chrysalis. Many people think that monarchs spin their cocoon but they in fact just shed their skin to form they chrysalis. The whole process once started tales less than five minutes. Below is a photo.

On the left is a furry caterpillar that is a milkweed tussock moth, then there is the caterpillar doing the final shed, (down near the head you can see the green chrysalis poking out) and on the right are two fully form chrysalis.
The staff and a couple of customers were watching this little miracle of nature. A little old man walked in and we showed him the excitement. He looked at us, smiled wryly and said, "Doesn't take much to turn you on, does it?" Alas, there is some truth to that since birding-wise there isn't too much going on. Hawk trapping can't start soon enough.