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Had a similar experience in Big Bend, TX area last spring while watching a nest of young ravens from the county road.  A local rancher came whipping up menacingly in his pickup, complete with a rifle...thought we were spying his barn equipment.

Tony Robyn
Newton County (currently St. Louis)

-----Original Message-----
From: Missouri Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Charlene and Jim Malone
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:51 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Watch where you point those optics

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 yahoo.com
Boston

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