As a child, I had a dream of being surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of butterflies of all sizes, shapes, and colors. While parts of my dream may be unrealistic (I doubt I’ll ever find a human-size butterfly that can talk) I’ve realized that there are ways to make parts of my dream come true. It’s called butterfly watching, and it’s one of our 200 + hobbies.
Like bird watching, butterfly watching is a relaxing, educational hobby that anyone can do. All it takes is a bit of preparation and a willingness to learn.
So are you ready to spot some butterflies? Well wait just one second! Before you go, you’ll want to check out this short guide for all the info. you’ll need to know before heading out into the field.
When it comes to butterfly watching, you won’t need a ton of gear. Oh, and don’t rush out to buy one of those enormous nets you’ve seen in movies because you think it’ll make you a real “butterfly watcher.” Most butterfly watchers do what their name implies–they simply watch the butterflies while respecting their habitat and leaving the nice pretty creatures alone.
That said, there are a few things you might want to consider bringing, such as:
-Field Guide: This guide is recommended for beginners
Is this list sounding familiar? If so, you’ve probably already read our guide to bird watching. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the two hobbies are remarkably similar. If you’re already a bird watcher, you probably have a lot of the gear already, which is a great thing. There’s nothing wrong with expanding your hobby to include both birds and butterflies.
Other Notes Before You Go
-While it may be tempting to just head out right away, consider spending some time reading (either online or in your field guide) about butterflies. The more you know ahead of time the more likely it is you’ll appreciate what you find.
-Bring a friend. While butterfly watching can be a peaceful solitary experience, bringing a friend or joining a butterfly watching group will allow you to share your hobbies with others. If you have children, bring them too! Kids love spotting butterflies (as evidenced by the dream I had when I was a kid).
-Check out a butterfly sanctuary or museum. If you’ve never been butterfly watching before, you might want to head to a butterfly sanctuary or museum where you know there’ll be butterflies. If you can recognize the kinds of butterflies there, then you know you’re ready to go butterfly watching.