A Butterfly that Hibernates

The last thing on my mind when I’m hiking this time of year is butterflies…it’s cold and there are few flowers in bloom.  But, I pass through a sunny clearing in the forest on my daily walks and invariably have my day dreams interrupted by the flutter of a Mourning Cloak butterfly. Males emerge from hibernation this time of year and “perch” in a sunny opening to attract a mate and breed.  I’ve cut firewood nearby and the sap oozing from stumps is a likely food source.




Photos by NB Hunter. ©All Rights Reserved.

10 thoughts on “A Butterfly that Hibernates

    • my pleasure! They’re a pleasant surprise at this time of year. The photos were on April 18. Soon after, the weather took another turn for the worse and i might not see one again until late summer/fall.

    • yes…several years ago I posted the answer to your question! I discovered 2 mourning cloaks at rest at the edge of a weedy field. Their wings were extended and draped downward over the foliage of berry bushes. Their dark, velvety cloaks were in full display although I don’t think the butterflies were actually mourning. 🙂

      • Heading south at the moment (no internet), but I’ll try to remember to look for the post you mention when I get back.

  1. Mourning cloaks are one of my favourite animals. Somehow they survive the bitter Alberta winters and emerge, like yours, to delight us when spring’s arrival is but a promise. I haven’t seen any here yet but the other afternoon a bright orange and black butterfly danced at the kitchen window for several seconds, then disappeared before I could identify it.

    • I NEVER see red admiral butterflies this time of year but photographed one along my trail a few days before seeing the mourning cloak. Very unusual, and I’m wondering if you had a similar encounter at the kitchen window.

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