Several years ago (so my memory may be hazy), the Greater Ozarks Audubon
Society had a field trip a couple weeks before Christmas.  We met in the
Springfield Wal-Mart parking lot and loaded all our stuff, binoculars,
scopes and tripods into a large SUV which had tinted windows.  The driver
was looking over the local birds down by the store out of the car window
with his big binoculars.  When we got ready to pull out, we were suddenly
stopped by a police car with lights flashing, and he was joined by
another.  I remember the young police officer who stopped us looked
scared, like he was approaching a vehicle full of dangerous hoodlums,
when it was just a bunch of ladies with bird books in the back, which he
couldn't see for the tinted glass.  They stopped us and had the driver
and other male passenger in the front seat get out, and carefully checked
in the back of the vehicle to find a bunch of ladies with the giggles,
but with binoculars and bird books, which proved our innocence. 
Apparently the overly-nervous manager of Wal-Mart, having a large amount
of cash on hand for the holiday shopping, thought he was being cased for
a robbery.  We were allowed to continue to Shell-Osage for a great day of
birding, with a little excitement added at the start.  

Jo Strange
Branson, MO

On Thu, 7 Jan 2010 10:51:11 -0600 Charlene and Jim Malone
<[log in to unmask]> writes:
> Found below story on the New Jersey Listserve (Birder arrested in MA)
> Side note: Local incidents of birders mistaken for bad guys (I'm 
> sure there 
> are many more):
> - one birder got call from Sheriff of rural county in IL because 
> farmer 
> reported someone "taking pictures" of his farmland.
> Birder was looking at longspurs in a field
> - recently one birder almost arrested because a hunter reported this 
> birder 
> was disrupting the deer that he was hunting.
> Sheriff was very much in favor of arresting the birder but he talked 
> his way 
> out of it.......Birder was looking for owls.
> - I was reported to County Police as being a male stalker by woman 
> jogger at 
> Rockwood Reservation..I was pulling over to listen
> to what new spring warblers could be heard or seen.
> Watching birds at my feeder sounds less dangerous.
> Good snowy birding,
> Charlene Malone
> St. Louis co.
> ---------------------
> Subject: Birder Arrested in MA
> From: Samuel Galick <sam.galick AT GMAIL.COM>
> Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 20:33:24 -0500
> Yikes.
> *Subject: Arrest By Saugus Police 1/5*
> From: Paul Peterson
> Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 15:19:08 -0800 (PST)
> Hi,
> While?I was birding on the Rumney Marsh west of Rte.107 Yesterday, 
> someone 
> in
> one of the houses that back up onto the marsh?called the Saugus 
> police
> because
> they thought?I was looking at their house. The police arrived just 
> after I
> had
> exited the marsh at Bristow and Beachview Streets. I was arrested on 
> trumped 
> up
> charges after being thrown to the ground with my brand new Bushnell 
> Ex 
> Explorer
> binoculars around my neck!
> This after telling the officer what I had been doing, and listing 
> for him 
> the
> birds I saw. He kept insisting that birds aren't seen in winter. My 
> binoculars
> are being held as evidence, and this is after I had told the booking 
> officer
> that they were brand new and disclosed the price. The charges are 
> disorderly
> conduct, resisting arrest(even though?I was never told that I was 
> under
> arrest)
> and assaulting an officer.(my brother says I can kiss my binculars 
> goodbye).
> Paul Peterson
> petersonpaul63 AT
> Boston
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