If you are a birdwing butterfly, it’s a positive time to be alive (and that’s really saying something of a threatened species in current times). From our view on the ground amongst it all, the Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network (RBCN) has noticed a groundswell of activity across south-east Queensland aiding the recovery of this remarkable species, the cumulative impact of which is bound to be strengthening the Richmond birdwing butterfly’s chances of besting extinction. We wanted to seize this opportunity to share the good news…
Almost two decades later, this positive outcome is the result of the huge effort put in by early members of the network to raise awareness of the extinction risk faced by the species. Not only were they successful in identifying and communicating this risk, they provided a solution: to plant the butterfly’s host vine in strategic locations. Not often is the solution to saving a species so tangible.
Having heard the message, thousands of birdwing butterfly vines were (and continue to be) planted by community groups, local councils, schools and individuals across the butterfly’s natural range, the outcome of which has been an ever increasing biomass of vine leaves available for female butterflies to lay eggs on and their larvae to chew through. The even better news? This outcome can only improve over time as every single vine that is planted grows taller.
Whether due to an increase in vine population or recent favourable climatic conditions (it is difficult to know) 2018 has also been a bumper year for birdwing sightings. The RBCN Facebook page is full of pictures and posts from members showing off the birdwings in their backyards, and we have received many emails and phone calls recently reporting sightings.
For a great list of plants good for feeding and attracting butterflies, click the link below: