A tale of Hope

This is Hope. I met this gulf fritillary as a caterpillar when I found her hanging on my front door just before forming her chrysalis in that very spot. That was on Jan. 16. Today she emerged but we've had some cold weather during her time in the chrysalis and she doesn't seem ready to fly just yet.

She did manage a short flight to a pole that runs up the side of the house. She climbed part of the way up and it looked like she might spend the night there. But later, I checked on her and discovered she'd fallen. She seemed weak, and it was getting colder out so I brought her inside for the night and made a little nectar station for her in a private darkened room. 

I hope she makes it and is able to fly off and meet other butterflies when I take her back outside in the morning. Meanwhile, above are a few pics of her on the front porch earlier today. I'm wishing the best for her.

UPDATE:  Feb. 1, 2017

This morning, she still seemed weak so after providing her homemade nectar, which she wasn't really all that interested in, I put her in a big basket with a large stick she could climb ... and set it atop a pedestal on the screened back patio, so she could spend time in the sunlight.

After an hour or so I checked on her and she was spreading her wings, trying to climb up the side of the basket. I put my finger down so she could climb onto it and I could introduce her to a larger stick that I felt she might be able to climb.

Instead, she flew clear across the patio and landed on the screen. I wanted to see how she would do outside, so I was going to try to get her out the patio door but then could not find her. I did not initially realize that she had flown onto a cloth I'd thrown over my shoulder. So I simply walked outside and she began flying ... really FLYING ... so happily!!

There was another gulf fritillary flying out back as well. Hope flew all the way around to the side of the house and landed just near the very door where she had previously formed her chrysalis. She stayed there opening and closing her wings for awhile and then flew off like a pro. She eventually glided onto some little flowers on the neighbors' front lawn and eventually took off again.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy this makes me. HOPE is alive and well. I hope to see her again. I know I will recognize her because one of her wings is differently shaped than the other.

In the interim, here's a little video of Hope. : )