A monarch butterfly with a damaged wing got a second chance at a life thanks to a delicate operation to repair his wing.
Romy McCloskey fell into raising and releasing butterflies completely by accident after she found some caterpillars on a bush on a Milkweed plant in her backyard last Autumn.
“I had no idea what to do, other than to keep them in a glass tank and feed them, and wait,” she wrote on Facebook. “Little did I know there was much more involved. So, I read up on them, as much as I could, joined a great group and experienced many losses in addition to many, many more successes.”
After one of her “charges” emerged from his cocoon with a damaged wing, she knew the butterfly would be unable to survive on his own and wanted to help him.
“This butterfly is 3 days old and was born with this injury that was sustained while pupating,” Romy explained, after sharing photos of the injured butterfly.
After a friend of hers shared a video with her about repairing butterfly wings, Romy thought she would attempt to “help my sweet little guy”.
She shared photos of how she helped “him along in life” on Facebook and walks through what she did to fixhis damaged wing. Her work as a professional costume designer and master embroiderer came in handy with such a delicate procedure.
“When this little guy presented himself to me with such a torn and damaged set of wings, I posted about it on my personal FB page,” she writes. “I was, needless to say, heartbroken at the thought of having to put him down. Then a friend sent me a video on repairing wings. I figured, since I do so much designing, cutting and putting together of costumes… I could give this a go. And I’m really glad I did!”
“The patient. Sweet boy had a damaged upper and lower wings.”
“The operating room. Towel, scissors, tweezers, talc, contact cement, toothpick and my sweet girl who died earlier last week (for wings.)”
“Securing the little guy down with the bent hanger, as I cut away the damaged pieces. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. It’s like trimming hair or nails.”
“The damaged pieces of wings.”
“Ta-da! He’s finished! You can see that the black lines in is upper right wing don’t match up 100%, and if you look at his lower right wing is missing the black dot that indicates male gender. Oh, and the white on his wing is the talc used to make sure any stray glue doesn’t make the wings stick together.”
“A quick rest, and then he was off!”
Romy says that the butterfly had a successful flight. “A quick spin around the backyard, then a little rest on on of the bushes… then… ‘like the down of a thistle’… off he flew! My heart soared with him, for sure!”
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