The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and an impressive 10,000 people took part, counting 210,000 butterflies and day-flying moths across the nation. Many more people, over 46,000 in fact, joined Big Butterfly Count 2013 (see the 2013 results). This year’s Big Butterfly Count is taking place from Saturday 19th July – Sunday 10th August 2014.
The survey is run by the charity Butterfly Conservation. To take part, simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather between now and 11th August. This is the time of year that most butterflies are at the adult stage of their life cycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests. Then submit your records online at the Big Butterfly Count website. There’s even a free smartphone app for iOS or Android to make it easier to submit your sightings.
Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses. That’s why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature. The count will also assist in identifying trends in species that will help to plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.
Last year’s results showed that butterflies had bounced back after the very poor weather of summer 2012. Let’s hope this year’s result show a further increase.
For more information on how to take part, see the Big Butterfly Count website.
Header photo: Common Blue (Richard Barlow)