You might have heard about the council worker who destroyed a butterfly meadow that was being used as part of the Big Butterfly Count this year – well, we don’t know if we’ll ever make that big of a blunder at work, but at least we can be sure to enjoy watching some beautiful winged creatures in our own patch of (unmowed) paradise!
What is the Big Butterfly Count?
The Big Butterfly Count is a survey of butterflies taking place across the nation. Launched in 2010, it has actually become the world’s largest survey of butterflies!
Over 60,000 people took part last year *gasp*, and submitted 62,500 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths.
So why count butterflies, and what does it have to do with plants? Well, butterflies are very sensitive to changes in the environment – alterations in behaviour can even pre-empt other wildlife losses. Smart, eh?
Keeping track of butterflies helps us protect them from extinction. And, just like we all know that the extinction of the butterfly’s yellow and black friend, the bumblebee, could spell disaster for… well… the entire world, the extinction of butterflies could lead to the exact same thing.
Just like their moth counterparts, butterflies are important pollinators for flowers. Their larvae is also a vital food source for birds – who in turn keep the population of plants level. It’s all a very fine balance, so it’s important for us humble humans to play our part to keep the clock ticking.
One thing we can do is grow more plants. Yay!
How to take part in the Big Butterfly Count
Take 15 minutes to sit in a garden, woods or any space with greenery and plants, and take note of all the butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather, until 12th August 2018.
The Big Butterfly Count website says: “If you are counting from a fixed position in your garden, count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. For example, if you see three Red Admirals together on a buddleia bush then record it as 3, but if you only see one at a time then record it as 1 (even if you saw one on several occasions) – this is so that you don’t count the same butterfly more than once . If you are doing your count on a walk, then simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes.”
Which plants attract butterflies?