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North American Butterfly Association Counts – Find One Near You

Photo: Rick Ahrens (NABA)

The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) has run the Butterfly Count Program in the United States, Canada, and Mexico since 1993. Each of the approximately 450 annual counts consists of a compilation of all butterflies observed at sites within a 15-mile diameter count circle in a one-day period.

The annually published reports provide a tremendous amount of information about the geographical distribution and relative population sizes of the species counted. Comparisons of the results across years can be used to monitor changes in butterfly populations and study the effects of weather and habitat change on North American butterflies.

Counts are open to the public and count on new participants like you. Depending on the count, one or more parties will survey sites within the 15-mile diameter count circle on a given day. Butterfly counts are driven by butterfly lovers just like you. All it takes is a desire to participate in a day-long count to help track the North American butterfly populations.

Find an active count near you on the map page, e.g., search for “Virginia.” (The map takes a moment to work so be patient.) Once you contact them, the compiler (count leader) will let you know when and where to meet.

Butterfly Identification Workshop with Dr. Leslie Ries, June 18th

Photo: Emily Carter Mitchell, Zebra Swallowtail

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
7 – 8:30 PM
Virtual
ASNV Members $10/Non-members $15
Register here.

The sight of butterflies fluttering around on a warm day is one of the most iconic signs of summer. These beautiful insects usually only live for a few weeks as adults, but they make quite an impression while they are in their full glory. There is a large variety of butterfly species in our area. Dr. Leslie Ries will focus on identifying the 20 most common butterflies in Northern Virginia.

Participants will also learn about the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Survey on Saturday, June 29 and how to register to participate.

To prepare for this program, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia encourages you to purchase a copy of Butterflies of the Mid-Atlantic, a Field Guide, by Robert Blakney and Judy Gallagher.

Leslie Ries is an ecologist who focuses on patterns at both medium and large scales. She has worked in the fields of landscape ecology and biogeography with a focus mainly on butterflies. Her current research looks at large-scale patterns.

Join The NABA Butterfly Count, September 10th

 

Photo By David Illig, Variegated Fritillary (NABA Butterfly Count)

Click here for registration information.

The Butterfly Count is an ongoing program of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) to census the butterflies of North America (United States, Canada and partially Mexico) and to publish the results. Volunteer participants are assigned a count area with a 15-mile diameter. The volunteers conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle.

Volunteers are encouraged to attend the butterfly identification webinar on Sept 5 (FREE for ASNV Members; $10 for non-members).

Volunteers of all experience levels are welcome! Every team will be led by an expert. Participants are encouraged to stay with their team for the duration of the event. A tally rally will take place at 4:00 PM at Belle Haven Pizzeria at 1401 Belle Haven Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22307.

This count is organized by Larry Meade. Deadline to register is Thursday, September 7 at 9:00 PM so you can be assigned to a team on Friday. Teams will each meet at their designated count locations.

Larry Meade is president of the Northern Virginia Bird Club and a member of the ASNV Adult Education Committee. He is a frequent bird walk leader and has been involved in numerous Audubon Christmas Bird Counts and NABA Butterfly Counts. He is the compiler of the Alexandria Circle NABA Butterfly Count.

The 2022 Butterfly Count Results from the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

Photo of Crossline Skipper on Teasel by Michael Myers

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has coordinated the Annual Loudoun Butterfly count since 1997. The count takes place in early August, which is the peak time for butterflies in our area. They report their data to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), which tracks butterfly populations.

This year on August 6, a typical warm, humid summer day, 60 volunteers set out to count as many butterflies as they could find in a single day. It was their 26th Annual Butterfly Count, and they tallied 3,756 butterflies of 45 species in an area of about 178 square miles in the northwestern corner of Loudoun County.

When the count day is over, team leaders tabulate their results, which are consolidated into a report submitted to the NABA. NABA collects reports from all over the country and makes them available to researchers.

Anne Ellis, Butterfly Count Coordinator, has written a very informative article, How Does One Count Butterflies?“, in which she describes this year’s count experience and answers the question, “Exactly how does one count butterflies?”

If you would like to know which species have been seen during previous years, you can view butterfly count data and reports A summary report of species count by year can be viewed here

Take a few moments to enjoy the 2022 Butterfly Count video too.

The 2023 count will be on Saturday, August 5. Please join the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and count the butterflies!