Butterflies in My Backyard Report — Twenty thousand reasons to celebrate
Twenty thousand reasons to celebrate!
Butterflies in My Backyard helps track butterflies in B.C.
Hundreds of volunteers participated in the 2023 Butterflies in My Backyard project. They made 20,188 butterfly observations and identified 143 butterfly species throughout British Columbia. Contributions from these BIMBY Seekers accounted for more than two-thirds of the B.C. butterfly observations submitted to the iNaturalist community science platform in 2023. Submitting photographs of butterflies to iNaturalist helps scientists better understand butterfly population dynamics when many insect species are in decline.
More than 500 B.C. residents signed up to participate in BIMBY this year. They took part in online training sessions on how to photograph butterflies in their communities and submit them to the iNaturalist platform.
Dozens of participants also documented the plants butterflies interacted with, making more than 4,000 plant and butterfly submissions.
UBC zoologist and BIMBY science lead Michelle Tseng said, “BIMBY participants have now created one of the most diverse plant-butterfly association data sets in Canada. This information allows us to better understand which plants attract the greatest number of butterflies. It also gives us data on whether certain butterflies are only found on specific plants. Creating this unique data set has been an innovative and remarkable achievement for the 2023 BIMBY team.”
Another cohort of Seekers focused their efforts on regularly tracking butterflies along hundreds of transects — prescribed walking routes. This year, 30 Seekers observed 5,000 butterflies along 460 different transects. Transects are important because they allow scientists to standardize observations year after year.
To find out more, read the BIMBY 2023 final report, “Twenty Thousand Reasons to Celebrate.” It includes more information about the project, plus insights from participants and researchers. You can find the executive summary here.
BIMBY committee members Michelle Tseng, Stephen Deedes-Vincke, Winnie Hwo and Alex Wong co-authored the report. BIMBY top identifier Steve Ansell also contributed to the report.
Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) — The Great B.C. Butterfly Search report
Although insects around the world are rapidly disappearing because of habitat loss, urbanization, pesticide use and climate change, much can be done to reverse the alarming trend. The David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project is an excellent example of how people from all walks of life can positively affect butterfly populations by planting butterfly habitat. In addition to creating or restoring insect habitat, we also need a better understanding of where beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies are found, and which species may need extra conservation efforts.