[CT Birds] Birding and being questioned by authorities

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Sat Jan 9 14:18:34 EST 2010

If you bird long enough, especially alone, you will most likely be
questioned by authorities eventually. I have been stopped and questioned in
Connecticut, Maine, Florida, New Jersey, and Chile. At least those are the
places I remember. I was kicked out of Barbados once (sort of) during a
birding trip but that's another story. I was once driving up Rte 2 in
Lebanon, CT in the days when Black Vultures were rare in CT. I saw a kettle
of many vultures and slamming on my brakes, I threw my truck off the side of
the road to scan the flock. The maneuver was rather abrupt admittedly. I did
not know a State Police cruiser was behind me on the highway and when he saw
me dive off the road he threw his cruiser off right behind me. As I tumbled
out of the truck I became aware that a cop was jumping out of a cruiser
right behind me. We both looked at one another wondering what the heck was
going on. He was tense and asked what I was doing. I simply told him the
truth, I wanted to scan the overhead kettle for Black Vulture. His response
was to relax, smile, explain he thought I had an emergency, wish me a good
day, and drive off. On balance I'd have to say my experiences with the
authorities while birding have been mostly cordial, although admittedly the
heavily armed troopers of the Chilean Mountain Division in the Andes never
smiled. At least they didn't stop me when I had picked up those Bolivian
illegal aliens in the rental car. I think that would have been awkward.


Dave Provencher

Naturally New England



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