The four new Monarchs had spent the night inside our house, tucked safely inside the caterpillar castle. Yes, there had been caterpillars in it, however I had taken them out and sat the Swan Plants (milkweed) complete with caterpillars on the kitchen bench for the night.
This morning seemed perfect weather for releasing them so, at 7am I set the butterflies outside.
One immediately flew straight up into a nearby Five-Finger Bush. Another flew further and landed high in a Komahi Tree. The other two flew over our house and each of them landed, separately, in our tall Nikau Palm tree.
The experts say it's best to wait 24 hours before releasing brand new Monarch Butterflies.
After emerging from their chrysalis and spending time pumping up and drying their wings, their first flight is usually quite short and allows them to reach a protected spot where they can rest and mature their systems, including eyes, chemoreceptors, neuromuscular connections, etc.
In general a 24-hour or more period is needed before they are fully flight capable. They don't feed in this time, they just sit.
So this morning our four brand new butterflies were well and truly ready to go and have now flown off to their butterfly lives.