Did you know that hummingbirds, moths, even beetles and bats are also pollinators? The butterfly is a popular and hardworking pollinator. Below are ways we can create a more inviting neighborhood for butterflies. There are more than 170 kinds of butterflies found in Alberta and over 300 in Canada. You may only see butterflies in the warmer months. However, some butterflies live here all year round.
Common butterflies in our area are the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail and the Mourning Cloak Butterfly (see the Canadian Wildlife Federation photos below).
Butterflies need many of the same things we do. A place to grow and a place to rest. Water and food and for the butterflies that stay here all year long, a cozy place in the winter. Butterflies have huge appetites and are picky eaters.
Butterflies need many of the same things we do. A place to grow and a place to rest. Water and food and for the butterflies that stay here all year long, a cozy place in the winter. Butterflies have huge appetites and are picky eaters. The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail likes to feed on the leaves of aspen, willow and poplar trees. When they become adults, they like to feed on native wildflowers, thistles and sage.
We most often think of flowers when we think of a good home for butterflies. While flowers play an important role, we need to keep other things in mind.
Butterflies need water, just like us. A shallow water source, or a bird bath, is ideal. To make it even more butterfly friendly, add in short twigs and pebbles half covered in water to give the butterflies someplace to land as they have a drink. Mud puddling is when butterflies drink from small puddles of mud. These muddy puddles provide a source of minerals.
It’s common to think butterflies are only around in the summertime. One reason for this is because when it gets too cold, butterflies are unable to fly! Some types of butterflies travel south in the winter, but the adult Mourning Cloak butterfly stays in the area all year round. They go into a dormant state during the winter and use tree cavities or wood piles to shelter from the cold. We can help provide a welcoming winter home by leaving the bark of trees alone when we’re out and about.
We want to encourage butterflies to make a home in our neighborhoods all year round. To learn more about butterflies and the role you can play:
Learn to identify Aspen trees and encourage growing other butterfly friendly trees.
Make a water station
Plant butterfly friendly flowers. And a lot of them!
Visit the pollinator park, Coal Mine Park, in St. Albert.
Coloring sheet: http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/butterfly-13
For more information about summer activities at the Musée Héritage Museum and St. Albert Heritage Sites go to museeheritage.ca