About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hey Baby, Baby: Red Admiral Butterfly Finds a Girlfriend

Hey, I was just in your store and bought that beautiful red ceramic birdbath. Before I had a chance to fill it up this wonderful butterfly descended. Now I'm wondering if I should just leave the bath empty? What do you think? Do you know what you call these butterflies? Thanks, Connie

It looks like you have attracted a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). You can tell by the distinctive reddish orange forewing band. Red Admirals are named after the red chevrons on a naval uniform.

They are a seasonal colonist in Michigan. The population fluctuates considerably from year to year. This appears to be a good year. I've had lots of customers asking question about them.

Mature Red Admirals tend to feed on fermenting fruits, sap from trees and flower nectar. If you want to make your birdbath into a butterfly feeder you can soak a sponge in hummingbird nectar and place it in the bath.

Red Admirals are considered to be people-friendly butterflies that will approach and perch on human beings. But I think it would be alright to shoo the butterfly to another perch and fill the bird bath with water.

Source: Butterflies of Michigan by Jaret C. Daniels