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Butterfly Counts

OUT-Monarch-butterflyBy Ranger Steve Mueller

Butterfly interest is high but most people are unaware nearly 170 species are known from Michigan. Between 20 and 45 species are sighted on local butterfly counts. The number varies with weather conditions and annual population variation. Please join the West Michigan Butterfly Association counts.

Counts are sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) and cost $3 for each participant. The money is sent to NABA to create a publication that is made available to scientists. It is a citizen science initiative. Twenty-two different counts were held in Michigan last year. The data is sent to NABA and then referred to me as Michigan’s count editor for review. After review the compiled data is published. I write an annual Michigan summary for the report.

In 2012 we saw 33 species on the Rogue River Count, 37 on the Allegan Count, 21 on the Muskegon count, and 31 on the Newaygo count. Locally the Rogue River Count will meet at the Howard Christensen Nature at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 23, and carpool from there. Participants may stay part of the day all day. To look for different species and to count numbers we visit various sites.

The purpose is to have a good time outdoors as well as to learn how to identify species, learn their habitats, behavior, and nature niche needs. Some families come for part of the day to get an initial exposure to butterflies. Others come for a full day.

Bring a bag lunch if you come the whole day, plenty to drink, snacks, and dress with lightweight long sleeves and pants to protect from any biting insects or raspberry thorns. We explore off trails when searching for butterflies.

Dates and meeting locations:

June 21, 2013 (Fri) 9:00 a.m. Allegan Butterfly Count – Allegan Co. 

Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller). Meeting location for Allegan Count to Fennville Unit Allegan State Game Area, 6013 118th Ave, Fennville


June 23, 2013 (Sun) 9:00 a.m. Rogue River Butterfly Count  – Kent Co. 

Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller)

(Kent, Newaygo, Montcalm Counties) Meet at Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16160 Red Pine Dr. Kent City.


July 6, 2013 (Sat) 9:00 a.m. Greater Muskegon Butterfly Ct – Muskegon Co. 

Leaders: Dennis Dunlap

Meeting location for Muskegon Count to Mill Iron Road north of Apple Avenue (M-46) at the second set of overhead power lines crossing the road.


July 27, 2013 (Sat) 9:00 a.m. Newaygo County Butterfly Count – Newaygo Co. 

Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller)

Meeting location: Plum’s Grocery parking lot at corner of M82 & M 37.


Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.


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