Tomorrow is the start of this year’s ‘Big Butterfly Count‘ – a nationwide survey (and the world’s largest butterfly survey) held by the British charity, Butterfly Conservation and Waitrose, to gain an understanding of the health of our environment. Counting butterflies helps determine natural health as they “react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators“. If we begin to see a reduction in butterfly numbers and/or species, it could warn us of other wildlife declines.
To take part, you simply have to count the butterflies that you see in any location within a 15 minute time period. Like the Big Garden Birdwatch, if you are counting in a single area, you should count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. However, if you decide to count the butterflies you see on a 15 minute walk for example, then you can add up the number of each species that you come across.
Your results, even if you see no butterflies, will not only support the environmental health assessment, but also help the charity identify species’ trends and consequently develop protection plans.
To help you with your 15 minute butterfly count, you can download a useful identification chart from the Butterfly Conservation! Once your sightings have been tallied up, you then simply have to submit your results online or via the free Big Butterfly Count app.
The Big Butterfly Count runs from Friday 14 July to Sunday 6 August, so if you find yourself with a spare 15 minutes, do something wild, get counting and have fun!
© Peacock Butterfly