Urban Magic – How to raise butterflies at your windowsill!

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Photo Credit: Purnima Thacker

We often hear how it looks and feels so smoggy in large urban areas at this time of year. We’re always trying to think of new ways in which we can increase green open spaces so we have cleaner air and also help save tiny creatures and little birds like the sparrows. Luckily, it takes only a little planning to create some magic and before you know it there is a bright green space quite literally at your doorstep or on your window sill! Here are some fun projects you can do at home.

  1. Here is an idea if you would like to attract butterflies to your window – think about growing plants with bright coloured flowers. If they have a sweet smell, that will be a bonus! These will provide nectar for the butterflies and food for the caterpillars. Some flowers you could consider are hibiscus, aster, lantana, starclusters and cherry pie. Perhaps you could start with buying a few of these plants from a local nursery and supplement these with plants you grow from seeds.
  2. It’s also great fun to watch the magic of butterflies as they transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly. This does need a little more care. There are some very kind nature lovers who rear butterflies and would be so happy to give you some caterpillars to take care. You could keep these in some paper cups along with lots of leaves that the caterpillars like and keep the cups in a closed but airy basket but sheltered from the wind. It’s an incredible sight to watch the caterpillars become a pupa and to see the butterflies emerge from the pupa a few days later. You could release these butterflies in your local garden. There are many different butterflies that are commonly found in Bombay. Some of these are the common grass butterfly, monarch butterfly and Mormon butterfly.
  3. In addition to butterflies, the plants in your window are bound to attract lots of pretty birds. You might see parrots and sparrows and even tiny purple rumped sunbirds. To make it even more appealing, you could hang a bird feeder filled with seeds like sunflower, red millet, raw peanut and a small bowl of fresh water. If you add maize to these seeds and observe very quietly, you might even see some squirrels coming along to enjoy a snack. Good luck spinning your magic!
Growing butterflies. Photo Credit: Purnima Thacker

Contributed by Purnima Thacker, a nature enthusiast in a big city!

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