Get Ready, Butterflies! Winter’s Coming!

Get Ready, Butterflies! Winter’s Coming!

When cold winds rattle the last leaves on the trees, we prepare for winter. We snuggle under extra blankets, slurp up warm soups, or even travel south.

God helps butterflies get ready, too.

In summer, monarch butterflies live just a few weeks, flitting from flower to flower to sip nectar. But autumn monarchs can live eight months. They soar south on the fall winds to live in warm Mexico. There, fluttering black and orange monarchs cover every inch of some trees, making them look like tall, stained-glass windows. When spring comes, they mate and head north.

Mourning cloak butterflies don’t migrate. As it gets colder, they shelter under tree bark and rocks. God gave them special proteins and extra sugars to keep their insides toasty warm. In early spring they spread their dark wings to soak up the sun’s warmth, then fly off to sip tree sap, mate and lay eggs.

Viceroy butterflies don’t migrate either. Autumn viceroy caterpillars stay caterpillars. They make leaf blankets and seal them up with silk, like zipping up a sleeping bag. Then they snuggle in to stay warm all winter. In the spring the caterpillar chomps more leaves and forms a chrysalis to transform into a butterfly.

God watches over small creatures like butterflies, giving them special ways to survive winter. God promises to protect us, too. Like the butterfly, “The Lord will watch over your life no matter where you go, both now and forever.” (Psalm 121:8)

Summer, fall, winter, spring, God watches over all things. Even the butterfly. Even you 🙂


Kathy O’Neill Kathy O’Neill grew up in Maine and loves family time, horses, dogs, and walks on stormy beaches. In her teaching, writing, and speaking, Kathy engages children’s and adult’s hearts and hands to discover God and their own creativity through art, history, and nature. Visit Kathy at to see fun family activities.

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