Take part in the BIG Butterfly Count 2020
Spring has well and truly sprung and Britain is booming with new life. Lambs, ducklings, flowers and, of course, butterflies. Britain is home to 59 species of this delicate insect and they are an important part of the ecosystem.
Around about now, summer butterflies are beginning to emerge from their silky cocoons to find a mate, often enchanting us with their iridescent midair tangos. Between these vigorous bouts of copulation, some take energy from the nectar of flowers, pollinating as they go. The unlucky ones end up being something’s dinner, an important source of food for birds and bats.
Question: Butterflies can taste with their?*
As such, butterfly numbers are a key indicator of overall the health of an ecosystem, giving scientists important insights into the impact of habitat loss and climate change.
Unfortunately, largely down to our actions, butterfly numbers are in decline, with 56 species now under threat. Not only is this bad for butterflies, but also indicates an overall decline in insect populations and biodiversity in general.
But despair not! There are ways we, as individuals and organisations, can help protect butterflies and the ecosystems they support.
One way is to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, which this year is taking place from 17th July – 9th August.
All you have to do is spend 15 minutes on a sunny day counting butterflies, with the help of a handy guide or app, and then submit your results online.
The best spots to go to are parks, school grounds and gardens, fields and forests. It’s a wonderful way to connect and interact with nature and spend quality time with friends and family (social distancing where necessary). On top of that, the results provide scientists with important data on butterfly numbers and environmental health.
Closer to home, another way you can help is to plant butterfly-friendly flowers in your garden or outside area. We know a lot of you have been getting busy in your gardens recently, and what could be better than giving a boost to these beautiful insects? They’re big fans of Buddleia (The butterfly bush), lavender and marjoram. Here’s a more extensive list.
This Summer we can all have fun protecting butterflies and ensuring their continued presence for future generations to enjoy. Head over to the Big Butterfly Count website for more info.
*Answer: their feet!
Guest blog by Finn Bartram
Image: A Peacock butterfly, commonly found in British gardens. Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny on Unsplash