Help us take nature’s pulse by joining the Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count is a UK-wide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) we see. In 2021 the Big Butterfly Count will take place from 16 July – 8 August.

It’s so easy to do and is a fantastic activity for people from 3 to 103 years. All you have to do is spend 15 minutes in an outdoor space (including anywhere urban as well as green places and gardens) during sunny conditions and count the types and amount of butterflies you see. 

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.

How do I take part?

To become a citizen scientist in the Big Butterfly Count you will need to:

  1. Visit the Big Butterfly Count website from 16 July and register yourself as a citizen scientist or download the free app for iOS and Android
  2. Choose a place to spot butterflies and moths for 15 minutes and identify and record the butterflies you spot (our website and app will help you).
  3. Submit your sightings on the website and app and look at our fascinating interactive maps to see how your data is contributing to conservation science and research.

What am I likely to see?

Big Butterfly Count takes place during the peak abundance of butterflies in the UK, when the most widespread and numerous species are on the wing. Nevertheless, no two years are alike and different years see different species come to the fore.

What you see can depend on where you live or make your butterfly count as butterfly populations can be different in urban or rural areas as well as clustered in different places across the UK. Almost all of the 19 target Big Butterfly Count species (including the two day-flying moths included in the Count) are widespread across the UK.  

By submitting your counts you are helping our scientists add to our important data on these species and to understand to what extent the climate crisis is affecting butterflies and moths in the UK.

Did you know that?:

Areas rich in butterflies and moths are rich in other wildlife. They are an important element of the food chain as prey for birds, bats and other animals and also as pollinators. This is why submitting counts with zero sightings is also good and necessary as it lets our scientists know where there might be problems.

Butterflies and moths have been used, for centuries, to investigate many areas of ecological research, such as navigation, pest control, embryology, mimicry, evolution, genetics, population dynamics and biodiversity conservation

Butterfly Conservation’s butterfly data is a unique resource unmatched in geographic reach and timescale by any other insect research anywhere in the world. This has proven to be extremely important for scientific research into the climate crisis.