Yesterday while in the Cherry Creek Habitat I noticed a stunning butterfly sunning itself on the insect hotel. Identifying it as a Mourning Cloak, I researched this butterfly and found some interesting facts.
Mourning Cloaks are one of the few butterflies that survive the winter as an adult. They find a sheltered location like a hollow tree, under shutters or shingles, behind a loose piece of bark or in a wood pile. Our insect hotel would be the perfect location for this kind of butterfly to overwinter or seek protection from the cold nights we had experienced the past few weeks.
I also learned that the eggs are laid in masses on cottonwood, willow and hackberry trees. We have all three of these trees located behind our insect hotel we built last fall.
I am so pleased our habitat is already attracting insect visitors. This is what we had hoped for when we started our project. We are planting more shrubs, perennials, herbs and annual flowers this week.