Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche: Summer Butterfly Counts 2021

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Summer Butterfly Counts 2021
by Ranger Steve Mueller

Four West Michigan Butterfly Association (WMBA) count summaries are posted below in Table 1 for 2021. It shows species and individual numbers vary among count circles. Variance is due to count dates, weather, and varying habitats. We visit a good representation of habitats in each count circle. Download Table 1.

Fifty species were observed on the four counts. That is about 1/3 of all Michigan species. At the bottom of the Table, notice the species totals and individual numbers for each count. Included are the immature butterfly life cycle stages found as egg, larva, or chrysalis.

Of particular interest is the number of individuals for the Federally Endangered Karner Blue Butterfly. West Michigan is one of richest remaining habitats for the species on Earth. It has been extirpated from nearly all previously known habitats. There is concerted effort to help this species survive. The process helps improve habitat for mammals and birds that people enjoy for watching and hunting. Habitat protection supports healthier water supplies. Federal laws protecting endangered species support healthier local economies and living conditions for people and wildlife.

I hope some Wild Ones will participate in the 2022 WMBA counts. It is a great way learn butterflies and associate them with plants. People can participate part or all day. Club members are friendly and helpful. If interested in other Michigan or national counts contact me for information. You can contact me now and I will reach out to you next summer.

Google the “West Michigan Butterfly Association” web site for additional information or contact me for club or butterfly information.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at [email protected] – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.