Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
Calling all citizen scientists: come to the Killarney Butterfly Count

For the 25th year, Killarney Provincial Park is hosting its Annual Butterfly Count.

And if you’re heading to Killarney on July 8, 2023, we’d like your help!

The Killarney Butterfly Count is part of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) counting program.

Information collected by park staff and volunteers helps monitor butterfly populations. The event also gives butterfly enthusiasts the opportunity to socialize, have fun and raise public awareness about butterflies.

Why do we count butterflies?

cane with butterflyButterflies and moths are ecosystem health indicators. Areas rich in butterfly and moth diversity are rich in other invertebrates. This variety of insects provides a wide range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control.

An important element of the food chain, Moths and butterflies are prey to birds, bats and other insectivorous animals. Butterflies are widely used by ecologists as model organisms to Study the impact of habitat loss and climate change.

The data we collect from butterfly counts will be sent to NABA to compare things like species distribution, environmental conditions, and habitat changes to see if long-term changes are occurring in our butterfly populations (and, by extension, in the ecosystem).

What kind of butterflies will I see?

Some of the butterfly species you might see include:

  • Peck pattern (right)pattern
  • European pattern
  • cloudy sulfur
  • White cabbage
  • small yellow
  • white checkered
  • Bronze Copper
  • Silver blue
  • Banded Hair Part
  • blue summer
  • american lady
  • Monarch
  • mourning cloak
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(Don’t butterflies have great names?)

Okay, but I’m not an expert on butterflies…

No problem. We are lucky to have four experienced butterfly enthusiasts who will lead our groups for the butterfly count.

naturalist looking at butterfly in jar

It is not necessary to have prior knowledge about butterflies to participate.

I want to help!

Step One: Email us at [email protected] to register for the July 8 event (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

Volunteers should bring a bag lunch, plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen. If you have a field guide to butterfly identification and a net, it would be helpful to bring those as well. If not, we have some available to borrow.

We will meet at 9:00 am at the Nature Center where volunteers will be divided into teams.

I’m not free that day. Can I still help the butterflies?


Here are some actions for butterflies that you can do on your own:

cabbage white butterfly

  • Do not use pesticides in your home garden. Herbicides (herbicidal agents) containing glyphosate kill beneficial foods and host plants (such as milkweed) that butterflies and moths depend on.
  • Plant native flowering plants. such as milkweed, butterfly bush, asters, allium, and bee balm in your garden to provide butterflies with habitat as a food source. NABA has great tips on the basics of butterfly gardening
  • Make every day a butterfly. Report your sightings in apps like Monarch Watch