Skip to content

North American Butterfly Association Count Program

May 13, 2010

SMBAS members:
As birders tend to appreciate all flying things (well…maybe not mosquitoes and houseflies so much) we’re passing this message along to you.

Dear Fellow Naturalist,

We invite you to join NABA’s Butterfly Count Program so that scientists studying butterfly distribution and population fluctuations will have the benefit of important data from your area. Now is the time to plan a new count – it’s a great way both to help the environment and to have an exciting day in the field with friends who enjoy the natural world.

Butterflies are ideal indicators of the health of the environment because they are exquisitely sensitive to small changes in their world. Yet surprisingly little is known about butterfly population fluctuations and distributions throughout North America.  Gathering information about these important pollinators is the goal of the annual Butterfly Count Program organized by NABA, the North American Butterfly Association.

Celebrating its 36th year in 2010, the Butterfly Count Program is a long-term citizen-scientist project, involving almost 500 counts and thousands of volunteers throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Volunteers select a count area with a 15-mile diameter count circle and assemble a group to conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle.

As a result of a variety of unfavorable weather conditions in 2009, many counts recorded declines of as much as 50% in the number of butterflies observed. Participants in the upcoming 2010 butterfly counts will provide important data on how butterfly numbers rebound.

Published annually in the NABA Count Report, count data  provide critical information about the geographical distributions and population sizes of the species counted. Increasingly, these data are being used by scientists to help address a wide variety of topics, including the fall migration of Monarchs and the effects of habitat changes on butterflies.

Currently, NABA Butterfly Counts are conducted from March to October in nearly every state.  If there is no existing NABA Butterfly Count in your area, we encourage you to start one!   For more information about how to start a count and about the Count Program in general, please visit NABA’s website,, send an email to, or call NABA’s national headquarters at 973-285-0907.

If a count already exists in your area, we hope that you can participate in and facilitate the existing count. [There are five counts in the LA area. Map and contact info. is HERE . CVA]
Loca­tion of all US counts and contact information for their compilers can be found on the NABA website at

Jeffrey Glassberg, Ph. D
President, NABA


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: