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Butterflies of the South Fork Kern River Watershed

NOTE: There is no collecting, fishing, or hunting on the preserve. If you see any animal or plant on the preserve, please take only pictures and memories. Do not disturb nesting birds. Do not go off trail.

A visitor to the South Fork region of the Kern River, California, encounters a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Fifty-three species of butterflies have been documented in the South Fork Valley. Found in northeastern Kern County, the South Fork Kern River Valley is located between the protective reaches of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Piute Mountains. This unique region contains three of the ten floristic provinces in North America. These unique factors contribute to amazing diversity of all life forms. The South Fork of the Kern River contains the finest, contiguous, native riparian forest in California.

Over one hundred species of butterflies have been recorded from a radius of fifteen miles from the Audubon Kern River Preserve in Weldon. Several annual counts are held near the preserve, starting in April with a count in the South Fork and Kelso Valleys, then a June survey in the Isabella Reservoir region and the survey year ends with 4th of July counts in the North Fork Kern and Giant Sequoia National Monument areas.

One would think that the butterflies would be the same on each count, yet the diversity of habitats yields a similar diversity of butterflies. Although well studied, much remains to be learned about the biology of the South Fork, and many opportunities exist for those with an interest in natural history to make important contributions to the existing knowledge of the area’s butterflies.

Since 1905 Audubon has been protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.

About Audubon Kern River Preserve

The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon California for the preservation of one of California’s largest contiguous cottonwood-willow riparian forests and the wildlife it supports.

Audubon Kern River Preserve supporters provide financial and volunteer support for Preserve outreach, education, wildlife habitat protection & stewardship.

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This site was created on October 21, 1998. Please Email to make comments or offer suggestions.