Geocaches are not the only thing you can search for while on the hunt. If a person engages all their senses as they hike through the woods there is so much more that can be discovered. One of the joys of geocaching is not only the find, but also the journey. For a Minnesota geocacher, that journey can include all kinds of amazing wildlife from deer, to snakes, to the massive varieties of birds flocking about. This week (Feb 14-21) is Wild Bird Feeding Month. Some geocachers in the areas have combined both their love for bird watching and caching by doing the activities together.
Cindy Boles (GramaCindy) is one of those cachers that take notice of the feathered friends around her while caching. Her enjoyment of watching birds roots from her parents taking interest in learning about the different varieties of birds that surrounded several of their family’s feeders. Cindy recalls a time when a Red-tailed hawk decided to adopt her father as a family.
“The hawk stayed in their yard for several days and would allow my father to hand feed it.”
These encounters with birds inspired Cindy to create a series of caches dedicated to the many varieties of birds in the area. She has placed several FTB (For the birds) caches in both Minnesota and Wisconsin with each cache dedicated to a certain bird native to the area.
“I had great fun doing research on the different types of birds that I wanted to highlight in this series.” Boles recalls.
One of the most important aspects of geocaching in the woods is being aware of your environment. Sometimes cachers can be so focused on the GPSr that they could miss the natural treasures before them. Boles encourages cachers to keep their eyes and ears open when caching as you may run into some of the unique birds that she has discovered like the barred owl, red-tailed hawk, or bald eagles.
If you are interested in discovering some of the birds in your areas while caching take heed of the following tips:
- Pick up a pocket sized bird guide
- Take a set of binoculars
- Familiarize yourself with the species common to the area you are caching.
- Remember to always CITO
There are several great areas in the Twin Cities to watch birds and cache. One of those areas would be Lebanon Hills Regional Park. While you are there you may want to talk with one of the employees about future bird watching classes that they provide.
What was the most interesting bird that you have come across while caching?