Tiny Houses Part II

Eastern Black Swallowtail ChrysalisI was visiting friends on Long Island this summer. They live near Fire Island National Seashore and Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge. Their verdant yard is a wonderland for living things of all sorts. The plants and visiting wildlife change with the seasons. Some of the creatures build structures, and they are absolute works of art. The bird that built the nest above had quite the creative flair for materials. (I wish local Long Island writer and naturalist Dennis Puleston was still alive. He might know what kind of bird built this fetching home.) If the bird nest were not exciting enough, an Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar built an intricate chrysalis on their porch rail, right near the parsley plant on which it had been feasting. My friends had the privilege of seeing it right after it emerged as a butterfly. By the time I had arrived, their mid-summer yard was crazy with birds and butterflies, and the tiny houses were abandoned. We alone remained to appreciate these creative marvels of form and function.

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