The first tool you need as a butterfly watcher is knowledge. You need to learn which
butterflies are native to your area. If you wish to encourage these joys of nature, you
need to learn which plants draw them to your area. They must have the right food,
shelter, breeding grounds, and hiding places to want to stay. You could create a
butterfly home if you wanted a large collection. A greenhouse with the right plants
would be perfect to keep your butterflies contained and safe from birds and bats.
Other predators enjoy butterflies and their larvae. Caterpillars are food for different
types of insects, like wasps who inject their eggs into them. The eggs then feed off
them, killing them slowly. It does sound like torture, but in actuality it's just another
part of nature's food chain and survival of the fittest.
If you're a teacher, you might enjoy a butterfly kit for teachers. It costs around $235
and offers guides, a tools CD, materials needed to teach the unit from start to finish as
the butterflies are born, live, and die, and non-fiction books for the students. Children
aren't the only ones who benefit from learning about butterflies, but they're a good
place to start so they can carry on with the next generation.
From caterpillar to egg-laying adult, the changing stages of a butterfly can last eight
weeks. The Monarch is one of the more popular species studied, but there are so many
more to learn about. There are groups dedicated solely to the study of the monarch,
but if you only limit yourself to this one species, you're missing out!
Butterfly watching is a way to observe, catch, collect, and help preserve the butterflies.
For some it's a hobby, and these people may only need simple tools like a pair of
binoculars or a net to capture the insect for a close-up inspection. Binoculars can cost
anywhere from $46 to $430 or more, depending on how much money you wish to invest
and how important yours will be in your new adventure.
Other tools a butterfly watcher may need are:
- Guide books
- Water bottles for long walks
- Snacks for extended watching periods
- Hiking boots
- Drawing pads and pencils or painting supplies
- Notebooks or a digital recorder
- Portable seat or blanket to get comfortable as you wait and watch
- Holding containers with ventilation
- Backpack for carrying supplies
Your butterfly watching experience doesn't have to be complicated if you plan ahead and
carry the right tools. Someone who is studying them for a living would obviously need
more tools than just the occasional hobbyist.