Summer weather hits butterfly populations

The poor summer weather has had an impact on butterflies, with many observers noting the lack of familiar species in their gardens this year. Information from the weekly counts made by BTO Garden BirdWatchers, together with that from Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count, have highlighted the impact of the poor weather on the numbers of butterflies visiting gardens.

Butterfly Conservation figures found that almost three quarters of species (15 of the 21 target species) showed year on year declines and 11 of them decreased by more than one third compared with 2011.

The poor season unfolded before the eyes of BTO Garden BirdWatch staff, as weekly returns submitted online revealed few butterflies on the wing. As you can see below, the percentage of gardens from which sightings were received was well down this summer (April to June), although it will be interesting to see if the hot weather of early September saw activity closer to the seasonal norm.

Taken from Bird Table issue 71