Big Butterfly Count 2022: what is conservation activity, how do I take part, why do butterflies need counting?

The Big Butterfly Count has been supported by Sir David Attenborough

People are being asked to help a conservation charity to help them monitor the UK’s butterfly population this summer.

The Big Butterfly Count is now in its 12th year, and asks wildlife lovers to record the amount of butterflies they see in their local area so the charity can get an overall picture of the butterfly population in the UK.

The count has been given backing by several famous faces in the worlds of environment and gardening.

They are Sir David Attenborough, who is the President of Butterfly Conservation, Chris Packham and Nick Baker, who are the Vice Presidents of Butterfly Conservation, Joanna Lumley OBE and Alan Titchmarsh MBE.

So, when is the Big Butterfly Count in 2022 and how can you take part in it?

Here’s everything you need to know.

The Big Butterfly Count asks wildlife lovers to record the amount of butterflies they see in their local area.

What is the Big Butterfly Count?

The Big Butterfly Count is a UK-wide survey aimed at helping charity the Butterfly Conservation to assess the health of our environment simply by asking people to count the amount and type of butterflies that they see.

Along with butterflies, people are also asked to count the number of some day-flying moths too.

Why is it important to count the number of butterflies?

Butterflies are a vital part of our ecosystem as both pollinators and components of the food chain, according to the Butterfly Conservation.

They are under threat, however, and numbers of butterflies and moths in the UK have decreased significantly since the 1970s.

This means that it is important to monitor the butterfly population, particularly as butterfly declines are also an early warning for other wildlife losses.

For this reason, the charity believes that counting butterflies is crucial in the fight to conserve our natural world.

When is the Big Butterfly Count taking place in 2022?

The Big Butterfly Count takes place annually, and is organised by conservation charity the Butterfly Conservation.

This year, it takes place between Friday 15 July and Sunday 7 August.

This time of year has been chosen because this is when most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, and so they are more likely to be seen.

How can I take part in the Big Butterfly Count 2022?

Taking part in the Big Butterfly Count is easy.

In preparation, you need to download the Butterfly Conservation’s handy butterfly ID chart to help you identify the butterflies you see.

There’s also a free app for iOS and Android that you can download to your phone which will help you to identify and record the butterflies you spot.

Once you are prepared, you simply have to choose a place to spot butterflies and moths, watch for 15 minutes and then record which species you see in that time.

You can then add your counts on the Butterfly Conservation’s online interactive map via the charity’s website or app.

You can also look at this map to see what other people are recording, and see how your data is contributing to conservation science and research.

You can perform your count anywhere - from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.

If you spot species which are not on our target species list here is a handy way you can record them too using the iRecord Butterflies App.

If you don’t see any butterflies then the charity is asking people to record that too.

They say that it is very important that people let them know if there are areas where butterflies are not being seen as this may indicate a wider problem.

What is the history of the Big Butterfly Count?

The Big Butterfly Count was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies.

Over 107,000 citizen scientists took part in 2021, submitting 152,039 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK.