Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Western Tiger Swallowtail


I wore down my camera battery with all the zooming and unzooming, hoping this guy would hold still. But he had so many flowers to visit, he couldn’t make up his mind which one to rest on for more than a second or two.  His name is Papilio Rutulus and although he’s a western tiger swallowtail butterfly, it seems that something has swallowed his tail.

Could it  be a hungry bird

Who thought he’d eat him? How absurd.

Nothing tasty on these wings,

Not a bit that nourishment brings.

Maybe branches beat his back

On the piece he now does lack.

In the wind the twigs can whip

Snapping blows, and wings can rip.

Whatsoever happened here,

I’m so sorry, my poor dear.

Glad it doesn’t change your flight

As you flutter out of sight.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

34 thoughts on “Western Tiger Swallowtail

  1. It’s a beauty! I wonder if the tail being gone affects the ability to fly?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great capture! 🙂 Flat batteries usually happen in the worst possible moments, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very observant about the tail being gone, Anneli. I also wonder with John whether the tail affects the ability to fly. You answer the question “as you flutter out of sight.” A beautiful photo! And, possibly Island View Beach heading photo?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really enjoyed this – photo and poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice shot, Anneli. Wear and tear might be due to age.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I once read about hummingbirds, that they must eat all day because they flit and fly everywhere forever. I wonder if this little guy is like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love these swallowtail butterflies. My first thought about the damaged tail made me wonder if a cat was trying to capture it. I can just see it. A cat leaping into the air and just getting his claw on the tail end. We’ve had quite a few of these butterflies here, cruising through the garden. So far, no casualties.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. He’s beautiful, but he certainly escaped something.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful picture and poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love swallowtails! Haven’t seen many yet in Texas yet though- it’s been a slow butterfly year all around, actually

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just loved this post, Anneli! Your poem was great fun. Had me laughing, which I really appreciate these days when most of us are getting grumpier in the lockdown. Of course I’m not happy the beautiful swallowtail had his tail swallowed. Really appreciate your writing talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love your shots. Crystal clear. I need to ask Anneli, what kind of camera do you use?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Very pretty even without the tail! Butterflies often seem to carry the wear and tear of life. So do flowers come to think about it, when you look at the petals up close.

    We have one species of swallowtail in the UK but it’s rare and very localised. I’ve seen them in Canada from time to time. I mean, I saw them, back when Travel was a thing…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a beautiful butterfly! And a lovely poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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