See that little IBA sign in the photo? Important Bird Areas are, well, really important!
NOTE: This is a locationless geocache. There is no box to find. Instead, you will use the model presented here to find your own Important Bird Area (IBA), and hopefully learn something about birds and their habitats along the way. We hope you have fun with this bird-brained adventure. Take along a pair of binoculars, and don't forget the kids!
Okay, so what exactly IS an Important Bird Area, you're wondering? Well, you can ask your neighborhood birder, or you can visit the two websites below to read all about the IBA program.
"The IBA program is a global effort to identify areas that are most important for maintaining bird populations, and focus conservation efforts at protecting these sites. In the U.S. the IBA program has become a key component of many bird conservation efforts."
National Audubon Society: Important Bird Areas Program
American Bird Conservancy: Globally Important Bird Areas of the U.S
Our model for this locationless geacache about the IBA Program is Ferd's Bog, which is located just north of Old Forge, New York in the Adirondack Mountains. Here are two links with information about its IBA designation:
New York State IBAs: Ferd's Bog
Federation of NYS Bird Clubs: Ferd's Bog
By the way, there's a big difference between birders and birdwatchers. Birders search for elusive and rare birds in forests, swamps, marshes, on lakes, and around shorelines using $1,000 binoculars & spotting scopes, all year long and in every kind of weather. Birdwatchers nod off looking out the kitchen window at a backyard birdfeeder. To find out more about the sport of birding, visit the American Birding Association website. And if you want to treat yourself to a really good pair of binoculars, first read the reviews by the field optics expert at A Better View Desired.
Please follow these rules to log this locationless geocache:
1. Use your GPS receiver to mark the location of an Important Bird Area (IBA). Since I made Ferd's Bog the model for this locationless geoacache, you need to find your own IBA. You must be able to show that your cache location is officially designated as an IBA. The simplest way is confirm the fact with a photo of an IBA sign. A link to a website with supporting information will help, shouldn't be hard to find.
2. The GPS coordinates used in your log must be for a specific and significant location at the IBA, such as an official IBA sign, trail head sign, park office, or some other physically permanent and idenifiable structure. In other words, a visitor should be able to find that object with a GPS receiver on any day of the year. Do not use a common or moveable item like a tree or a rock.
3. Take a photo of the IBA site that shows you and your GPS receiver at the spot where you mark the coordinates for your log report. This should be in front of the official IBA sign. Some additional photos showing the surroundings will greatly enhance your report. The photo above and the others linked below will serve as examples to help you plan your shots to match these directions. Please do not offer excuses for a photo you forgot to take, or one didn't come out well enough to use for proof. Read the rules carefully, and plan your trip to be succesful.
4. Submit a log report that includes the coordinates and some descriptive information. Describe the actual location, and name the nearest city, state, and country. The goal here is to share information about IBAs, so please take time to do a little research. Give us a paragraph or two that describes your visit, as well as the area and the birds that may be seen there. Try to find at least one website with information about your IBA, and include the link in your log report. This is not a drive-by cache opportunity. One-sentence log reports will be challenged.
5. Then immediately upload the required GPS confirmation photo in order to log this cache as found. The usual locationless cache rules apply: one log per geocacher, and each IBA may be logged only once. Please read all the logs to be sure your IBA hasn't already been reported. All photos must be originals. Logs without GPS photos will be deleted.