I leave Maine in two days, but monarchs are still being born. For the first time I managed to be present at the birth, so here is a short story complete with video.
This pale green gold-encrusted chrysalis appeared under the eaves of my house on August 25th.
On September 12th, it was noticeably darker, and becoming translucent.
This morning, September 15th, the adult butterfly was visible through the casing, and the head at the bottom was close to breaking through.
So I waited, and as soon as I turned my back, the opposite side of the chrysalis split.
The emergence began: here is a real-time video.
The butterfly hangs from the empty chrysalis.
First, it does tongue exercises:
Then it hangs there, tongue nicely furled, and begins to pump blood into its wing veins:
Twenty minutes after emergence, the wings were looking almost full-sized, but still floppy.
And then I went out for two hours, and on my return it was gone, flown off to head for Mexico for the winter..
PS If you think I was intruding on an intimate moment, consider the deliberately well-attended birth of a rather different monarch, the future Louis XIII of France, in 1601, so that there could be no shadow of a doubt as to whose son he was.
Nine years later, he succeeded his father Henri IV as King.