Big Butterfly Count: UK-wide survey gets underway

Big Butterfly Count, a UK-wide survey aimed at helping assess the health of the environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies seen, is underway.

The survey, which runs until 8 August, asks participants to simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the Big Butterfly Count.

The timing for the Big Butterfly Count, which began on 16 July, was chosen because it is also the time of year that most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.

With the free smartphone app for big butterfly count participants can carry out and submit their Count all in one go while out and about watching butterflies. 

Over 111,500 citizen scientists took part in 2020, submitting 145,249 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK.

Butterflies are vital parts of the ecosystem as both pollinators and components of the food chain. However, they are under threat. Numbers of butterflies and moths in the UK have decreased significantly since the 1970s.

The data from this and other counts will help Butterfly Conservation to identify important trends in species that will assist the charity in planning how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understanding the effect of climate change on wildlife.

Big Butterfly Count

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living

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