A Special Christmas Surprise

Christmas morning meant an early rise even for myself and my husband, while spending the holiday with our son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons in St. John’s.

Ed Hiscock, had an extra gift under the tree this Christmas. He discovered a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly in the bottom of a bag of gifts when he was sorting through his presents on Boxing Day.

Pop “Eddie” opened his gift from the grandkids, pleased with his new binoculars, coffee maker and ground coffee.

He returned it to the gift bag and left it under the tree, a beautiful spruce my son had cut in the forest behind his property.

When we returned home to Catalina on Boxing Day he laid the bag of gifts under our tree.

The next morning, as he was sorting out the gifts, he discovered something peculiar in the bottom of the bag.

He sang out to me, asking me to guess what he had found.

My first thought was a European earwig, but it was nothing ugly like that.

Much to my surprise it was a large beautiful butterfly, very much alive.

Its beautiful colors intrigued us. A search through the Internet told us it was a tiger swallowtail butterfly.

Where it came from is certainly a mystery. My daughter-in-law, Robin, hopes it is a sign of good luck in the New Year.

It’s possible it was hibernating in its pupa form in the tree and the indoor heat brought it to life. We put it in a large jar with some leaves and bits of orange.

It is quite alert and my husband has named it appropriately, “Christmas.”

Editor’s note:

Lloyd Hollett, owner and director of the Newfoundland Insectarium, confirmed the butterfly was a Tiger Swallowtail and said it is one of the most common butterflies in the province and Canada.

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