The Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count

Run by the charity Butterfly Conservation, The BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT is a nationwide survey aimed at helping assess the health of the environment. Butterflies react very quickly to changes 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 BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT 2017 will take place from Friday 14th July to Sunday 6th August. The count also assists in identifying trends in species that will help plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

How To Take Part

Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather. The butterfly count happens this time of year because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their life cycle, so more are likely to be seen.

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 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 counting during a walk then simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes.

Visit to find out everything you need to know about the BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT, to download your identification chart and to log your sightings.  You can also use the FREE big butterfly count smartphone apps available for iOS and Android.

The website will be open to receive records throughout July & August.