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24   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

 

of the road that one may pick them up with thumb and fingers. Here are a half-dozen crowding each other, their wings nervously trembling with excitement. Among them is one with a bit taken out of each wing ; the gaps are of the same pattern. It is the work of a bird. The insect was seized while at rest with wings together : in no other way could it be done. Birds are their greatest enemies. One often sees them with tattered and broken wings, where they have escaped as by the skin of their teeth. Any of our insect-eating birds will now and then make a dash for a butterfly, but to actually capture one is not an easy matter. One often hears the expression a "butterfly existence," meaning a life of gay trifling, flitting here and there among sweets all the long summer days in peace and security. It is all a mistake. Nature bestows these blessings in full measure on no living thing. Struggle and warfare, fighting and dodging, creeping upon and being crept upon, are what we find in every department of life. Our pretty yellow and black butterfly does not find nectar in every flower he visits : other hungry insects may have drained it of sweets. Many blossoms are so made that he cannot partake of their treasures. One may see them try this one and that one during a half-


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