The Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count begins on Friday 12th July 2024 and will run until Sunday 4th August. Organised by The Butterfly Conservation, this vital citizen survey aims to assess the health of our environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) we see.

Why is the Big Butterfly Count important?

Butterflies are not only beautiful creatures to see fluttering around your garden, but they are also extremely important. They 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.

Butterfly declines are also an early warning for other wildlife losses. Butterflies are key biodiversity indicators for scientists as they react very quickly to changes in their environment. Therefore, if their numbers are falling, then nature is in trouble. So tracking numbers of butterflies is crucial in the fight to conserve our natural world. That’s why taking part in this massive citizen survey is of great importance not just for our butterflies but for the wider environment and biodiversity in general.

How do I take part?

Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the Big Butterfly Count (July 12th – August 4th) These dates are chosen because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen. You can count butterflies from anywhere: your local park, school, field or forest!

The Butterfly Conservation have provided a list of target butterfly and day-flying moth species in your area that they’d like you to count. By restricting the list, there is less room for error and it gives them a clear view of what’s been counted around the UK.

Get ready to count butterflies!

You’ll need to download the handy butterfly identification chart, or the free App from The Butterfly Count website. Next, once you’ve done your count- you’ll need to add your findings to their website here.

They also have a great interactive map where you can see all the sightings that have been logged all over the UK. So, take just 15 minutes out of your day, sit in the sunshine and count those butterflies!