Ask any serious butterfly gardener and they’ll tell you that the best thing about a backyard butterfly garden is that you get countless chances to watch butterflies. The more hospitable you can make your live butterfly garden, the more you are going to learn about these beautiful winged insects.
For example, let’s say that you have a hankering to take some pictures of butterflies. This isn’t as easy as it seems! Butterflies are awfully fast and rarely rest when people get close. But if you have your own garden, then you can see them early in the morning. Head out at dawn but before the sun has risen all the way. Butterflies are still waking up and the morning cold means that they can’t yet fly. You can get as close as you’d like with your camera and take plenty of pictures.
You’ll want to check underneath especially large leaves for the butterflies. That’s where they hide at night in order to avoid the predators that might be after them. You can also check the stems of large flowers such as sunflowers – butterflies often rest there. If you have any thick bushes such as rose bushes or butterfly bushes, see if you can’t see any visitors tucked safely inside the canopy of leaves.
If you aren’t an early riser, don’t worry. You can also check out butterflies in the middle of the day when they are most active. Pull a chair up to your garden and watch the activity. How many species of butterfly are visiting? Can you tell which ones are females and which ones are male? See if you can’t identify some trends in behavior. Which plants do they prefer? How do they interact with one another?
If you want, how about making a video recording of butterflies? Set your camera up on a tripod and let it record for half an hour or more. Or, you can record by hand, perhaps following a single butterfly as it drifts from plant to plant. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to unduly scare your visitors. They need to feel safe in your garden – it’s a big source of food and energy for them!