Butterflies are a truly spectacular part of nature. There’s something so serene about watching them flit by on a warm spring day. Pair their bright wings with a colorful flower and you have the perfect image of nature’s beauty. Most of the time, the closest you can get to these elegant creatures is in a conservatory or other nature education center. What if you could get up close to them in the wild though? Well, thanks to some creativity and modern technology you now can.
In a video from Nature on PBS, we get a close encounter with a massive congregation of Monarch Butterflies. Did you know that a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope? These monarchs are huddling together to keep themselves warm. You can watch as they slowly flap their wings in anticipation of the coming day. Once the temperature reaches an ideal point, they take off into the air in an awe-inspiring scene. Billions of butterflies shower the sky in a swath of orange that is dazzling to observe.
The best part of all of this? No butterfly was distressed during the filming of this video. PBS disguised their tiny drone as a hummingbird so that the butterflies would not be disturbed. Hummingbirds enjoy a diet of nectar just like the Monarchs. This means that the Monarchs do not see them as a threat and thus do not react to the sudden appearance of this visitor. Additionally, all of the drone’s moving parts have been covered so that the butterflies can safely fly around it without being harmed. Some of them even land on the wings for a quick rest.
There’s something so peaceful about getting to see this tiny drone in the center of a butterfly storm. Normally, this is the kind of thing you can only imagine in fiction stories. My day is 100% better for getting the opportunity to view this amazing moment in nature.