Backyard Buddies

Photo: David Cook


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Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and like many native buddies, need all the help they can get to make sure they remain regular backyard guests.

Attracting and keeping butterflies around your yard is a cinch. Butterflies go through a number of different lifecycle changes but they always need food, shelter from the wind and a drink of water.

Butterflies depend on two types of plants to survive. Flowering plants produce nectar to keep butterflies alive and food plants are ones on which the female can lay her eggs.

Butterflies can only see red, green, and yellow. Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 28⁰C. There are about 400 species of butterfly in Australia.

Butterflies taste with their feet. Their taste sensors are located in the feet, and by standing on their food, they can taste it!

Butterflies don't have mouths that allow them to bite or chew. They, along with most moths have a long straw-like structure called a proboscis which they use to drink nectar and juices.

You can make your neighbourhood friendlier for butterflies

Butterflies are cold-blooded and need plenty of warm sunshine. You may see them in early spring with wings wide open to the warming sun. Or you may see them just touch the top of a bird bath or pond.

Purple, red, orange, and yellow flowers attract butterflies. By planting these colour flowering plants, your backyard or park can become a better home for butterflies.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The butterfly is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the butterfly, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what butterflies do and do not like.

Butterflies love:

Sunshine – that gives them the energy they need for flight. Provide a small, open area, without overhanging trees.

Garden flowers – to find the sweet taste of nectar.

Puddles of water – where they can safely take a drink.

But they don’t like:

Strong winds – which can tear their fragile wings.

Rain – that keeps them from flight.

Garden pesticides – which kill them.

Be a butterfly buddy

Try to:


Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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