Text and Pictures by Bea Laporte butterfly

Laura whisperingButterfly Whispering is the taming of, or having a communication or interaction with, a butterfly! When a butterfly trusts you enough to climb onto your hand or land upon your shoulder, what a wonderful feeling it is!

Yellow butterfly on fingerI learned about Butterfly Whispering when I began photographing butterflies. To get a picture of a butterfly can sometimes be a challenge. The natural instinct for butterflies is to fly away when something comes after them. But I’ve learned that if you approach them very slowly and quietly, sometimes they will let you get close enough to take a picture. If you take your time and the butterfly gets used to you, sometimes they will even climb upon your outstretched finger!

orange and black butterfly on fingersOnce you have a butterfly on your finger you can slowly bring him nearer so you can examine him closer. You will be able to study his little head and his big, round eyes, his legs, perhaps he’ll have some fur on his body, and maybe you’ll even get to see his feeding tube or “proboscis” that he keeps all coiled up like a garden hose when he is not using it. Sometimes when a butterfly perches upon me he will use his proboscis to suck up the salt on my skin and that tickles!

butterfly with proboscis on finger
How you can be a Butterfly Whisperer, too

butterfly on fingerA great way to learn Butterfly Whispering is to spend a lot of time photographing them. But even if you aren’t taking pictures, it’s still fun to see a butterfly up close.

It is important for the butterfly to not feel threatened – so no sudden moves! Approach slowly and smoothly. At first try, often the butterfly will fly away. Just follow her with your eyes until she lands again and slowly start your approach again. It may take a few times before the butterfly will let you get close enough, then try just watching until the butterfly gets used to you before stretching out your finger towards it very slowly. I don’t know if it helps, but I usually try to send a message to the butterfly using my thoughts or a quiet whisper - that I don’t want to hurt it, and that I only want to get closer so I can see how beautiful it is! Some butterflies are just too afraid so it is best to just leave those ones alone.

butterfly on thumbNever grab a butterfly by its wings or its legs because they may break apart. The scales will come off a butterfly’s wings if held by the wings, or inside your tightly clasped hands or left flapping inside a jar. Legs, scales, and wings do not grow back and this will interfere with the butterfly’s ability to fly and escape from predators. So, remember to just let the butterfly climb up on you.

Happy Butterfly Whispering!

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Laporte, Bea. Last updated . Page title: . Retrieved from The Backyard Nature Website at .