The Big Butterfly Count is a nation-wide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and had rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. Over 113,500 people took part in 2019, submitting 116,009 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths.
The 2020 Big Butterfly Count will be just as easy to complete as in previous years. You can choose to either download the Big Butterfly Count App or record your results on of the downloadable sheets from our website (Bigbutterflycount.org) where you can enter your findings. The Big Butterfly Count will launch on Friday 17 July and run until Sunday 9 August, although the website and app will remain open throughout August so that you can submit your counts.
It’s a fantastic activity for people from 3 to 103 years and we’d encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations. You can do as many counts as you like on different days during the three-week Big Butterfly Count period, and even unsuccessful counts (where you saw no butterflies at all) are important and should be submitted.
What am I likely to see?
Big Butterfly Count takes place during the peak abundance of butterflies when the most widespread and numerous species are on the wing. Nevertheless, no two years are alike and as we have had a warm spring, and butterflies have emerged early, we may see less of our early-summer flying species (such as Marbled White and Ringlet) by mid-July, when the Count starts, and more of our late-summer flying species (such as Large White and Peacock).
It also depends where you live or make your butterfly count as to what you are likely to see, as butterfly populations can be different in urban or rural areas as well as clustered in different places. Almost all of the 19 target Big Butterfly Count species (including the two day-flying moths included in the Count) are widespread, but a few, such as the Gatekeeper and Holly Blue, are scarce or absent from some parts, particularly further north.