Count butterflies in the garden this weekend

Atalanta butterfly
Atalanta butterfly. Photo: Zeynel Cebeci / Wikimedia Commons

The Netherlands' annual butterfly count is happening this weekend. The Vlinderstichting calls on everyone to participate. "The idea is that the people walk around their garden for 15 minutes and count the butterflies", Kars Veling of the foundation said to broadcaster NOS.

The count provides a wealth of information about the different types of butterflies and how many of them are in the country. This information is essential, as butterflies are struggling in the Netherlands. "In fact, it's not going well at all with butterflies in the Netherlands. We initially had 70 species, of which about 18 have disappeared. Of the 50 remaining species, 30 are threatened", Veling said. 

According to Veling, this is because there is much less greenery in the Netherlands, due to cities and roads, but also in people's gardens. "Many people exchange their plants and flowers for stones, which is very detrimental to the butterfly."

The most common butterfly in the Netherlands is the brown sand eye, though atalanta butterflies are most often spotted in gardens.

The count started at 10:00 a.m. on Friday and ends at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. If you want to participate, you can use the site to see what butterfly you're dealing with and also to register your count. There is also an app with this information.