Tiger Swallowtail Funeral
I was bicycling near the St. Croix River in Minnesota on a country road when I saw a flock of several tiger swallowtails fluttering near the roadside. I paused to take in the sight, never seeing more than one swallowtail at a time before, when I noticed a fallen swallowtail on the pavement near me. With a touch of sadness & a sense of gratitude for seeing a flock of swallowtails, I pedaled off down the road about another mile, then decided to turn around & head back. When I arrived at the spot of the swallowtails, still fluttering, I stopped in my tracks; there, on the pavement, were two swallowtails who had apparently lifted their dead comrade onto their wings, side-by-side, and were walking across the road with it to the mown grass. They continued walking carefully across the grass (all the while the others were still fluttering around the area, as if watching for traffic, or perhaps, mourning), then into the safety of the tall weeds, where they gently separated & lowered their comrade to the ground. The two then walked back to the mown grass, fluttered their wings & took flight, joining the others in an intricate flight pattern of ever-widening spirals. Finally, they all dissipated into the countryside on their own journeys.
It was as if I'd witnessed a sort of funeral procession, or ritual.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?