Poppy the Butterfly

August 25, 2008 at 12:29 pm (Random) (, , , , , , , )

Poppy the butterfly is a red admiral butterfly that befriended Dan Southerland, executive editor of Radio Free Asia. The butterfly first showed up around July last year. It landed on his shoulder while he was taking a break from work by taking a walk outside with a colleague. Then it crawled over to his shirt collar and stayed there for awhile. That’s when he decided to have this picture of himself taken with his new friend at a nearby MotoPhoto shop.

After that he “…decided to get the butterfly something to eat at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse across the street.”-washingtonpost.com. There the waitress offered the butterfly some strawberries. He didn’t eat the strawberries but kept chilling with Dan until they were about to leave. Then the butterfly flew onto the blinds, where Dan’s colleague was able to get him off with her ID card. The butterfly stayed on Dan even when he got into a cab. It stayed there until he got home 30 minutes later. After that Dan, his wife, and his daughter “…got the butterfly into the birdbath and brought him some chopped bananas and bright red and purple salvia from the garden.”

The butterfly kept returning every day just to see Dan and kept landing on him gradually growing more and more brave by landing on his head. Dan even started coming home early enough so he could see the butterfly before it left for the night. Finally on August 15th, Poppy saw Dan one last time and flew up really high before leaving for migration. Dan hasn’t seen Poppy since but he still remembers the time he spent in his garden with Poppy.

I wish I had a cool little butterfly friend that would come hangout with me every day after work. Make sure to read the full article here.



  1. Christine said,

    How incredibly random…

  2. greencs said,

    I know right haha. They’re bff!

  3. Matthew said,

    Ummm, I’m not quite sure what to say to that, random, but hysterical. I wish there was some random wild animal that would hang out behind my apartment so I could feed it kix, but no lizards, they’re gross.

  4. greencs said,

    lol like kix the cereal? I was feeding a kitten by the house yesterday so the neighbors wouldn’t let it die of starvation but I haven’t seen it today 😦 . I think they stole it and took it inside.

  5. Toni Bacon said,

    Your article was very beautiful and reminded me of a personal butterfly experience.

    Shortly after my mother died in Philadelphia in 1970, the family received a letter from a friend of hers, which described their young son’s science experiment in which a cocoon hatched out on the afternoon of her death. They were convinced that the emerging butterfly was the spirit of my mum. I would have considered that pretty flakey had not a butterfly (matching the description in the letter) flown in through an open window in downtown Philadelphia, circled the room and flown out again while I was reading the letter outloud to my grieving grandmother.

  6. Ken Knight said,

    Reading your story, Dan, in ‘The Week’ took me back to a similar experience I had. After the riots at Kent State in 1970, I took a job working in a greenhouse growing tomatoes to earn money for my move to California. After a week or so a butterfly came and landed on my shirt and accompanied me the whole day tending the tasty fruits. At the end of the day I gently removed him/her while still inside the greenhouse. The next morning the little creature found me and stayed with me the whole day. This went on for the whole time I worked there. The other twenty or so workers, Mexican and Puerto Rican itinerants, said they had never seen anything like this in their travels. They made up little stories about it being some dead relative come back to visit or that I was a ‘brujo’ or animal charmer. Personally I just thought the butterfly was drinking the sweat from my shirt. Who knows. My wife, strangely enough, finds me completely irresistible when I come home from work hot and sweaty. Hmmmmm…..
    Ken ‘the Butterfly Whisperer’ Knight

  7. Julie said,

    Hi Dan

    I have never heard of this happening before with anyone else until now. I had a Monarch butterfly live on me for 3 days. he went kayaking with me in the ocean, slept in my bed with me, drove in cars, took baths with me, even went out to public restaurants and would sit on my fork while i was eating! i would hand feed him flowers out of my hand. He was just NOT an ordinary everyday butterfly!! I kid you not. of course there is a whole lot more that occurred i suppose worth really writing it all down one day. But truly an extraordinary experience i will never ever forget. I have great photos too! Thanks for caring to write about this mans butterfly experience. we need more stories like this written in our world!

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