Deepor Beel recorded over 26000 birds of 97 species during a recent bird count
Bird species in Deepor Beel

Guwahati: A recent bird count in the freshwater lake Deepor Beel, which is home to various native and migratory birds, revealed a substantial increase in the number and species of birds in a year’s time.

Over 26,000 individuals of 97 bird species were recorded during the bird count exercise at Deepor Beel organised by the Guwahati Wildlife Division of Assam Forest Department.

Besides the bird count exercise, a spot bird photography contest was also held on Wednesday. A total of 37 individuals participated in the bird count exercise, including forest department officials, bird experts, students, and representatives from NGOs.

Experts from the region’s leading research-based biodiversity conservation organisation Aaranyak, NGOs- Help Earth, Rongmon, and The Midway Journey, attended the exercise.

The birds were counted using the ‘Visual Encounter Survey’ methodology in nine areas of the wetland and in nine groups on foot and in country boats.

A renowned ornithologist, Dr. Anwaruddin Choudhury accompanied the participants and provided guidance during the exercise. The exercise was coordinated by Jayashree Naiding, DFO Guwahati Wildlife Division, while Udayan Borthakur, senior scientist from Aaranyak, briefed on the technical aspects of the bird count.

“The bird count in Deepor Beel was a very important initiative undertaken by the Guwahati Wildlife Division. The data on bird species and numbers obtained through such monitoring can help greatly in conservation planning in the long run,” said Udayan Borthakur, a wildlife photographer from Aaranyak.

A total of eight wildlife photographers participated in the spot bird photography contest in Deepor Beel. Udayan Borthakur from Aaranyak, along with other wildlife photography experts also acted as the jury for the bird photography competition organised on the occasion.

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“I thank all participants for their active participation in documenting the Avifauna of the only Ramsar site of Assam for the second consecutive year,” stated Jayashree Naiding.

Compared to the previous count held in 2021, this bird count activity in the sole Ramsar site of Assam revealed greater species diversity and an increase in the total bird count. A repeat of the exercise is scheduled for the first week of February 2023 during the Asian Waterfowl Count.

The last bird census conducted at Deepor Beel was in February 2022, when more than 10,000 birds of 66 species were recorded.

Located to the south-west of Guwahati, Deepor Beel was recognised as a Ramsar site in November 2002. A count in that year revealed as many as 19,000 birds of 291 species. 

Besides being a Ramsar site, Deepor Beel is also a wildlife sanctuary protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and an important International Bird Area Site as identified by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Birdlife International since 2003.

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