Bohemian waxwings flock in the winter, traveling together as they search for food. Credit: Courtesy of Bob Duchesne

A group of camo-clad birders who descended on a New Hampshire town last week were mistaken for a mob of “domestic terrorists.”

But these birders weren’t interested in sowing political violence. They only wanted to look at hungry Bohemian waxwings.

“The arrival of the waxwings feeding on crab apples in Gorham is a big thing for birders from all over New England. Some drove 300 miles round-trip just for the experience,” David Govatski, a retired forester and avid birder, told the Conway Daily Sun.

As the eager birders congregated on Main and Mechanic streets in Gorham on Jan. 15, a woman who spotted the camouflage called the police, according to the Daily Sun. The sighting came just days after a violent mob had stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote. In the melee that ensued, five people died or were fatally injured, including a Capitol Police officer.

But the responding officers found the birders toting only long-lens cameras, chatted for a bit and then left, according to the newspaper.

Govatski told the Daily Sun he has suggested that birders avoid camouflage given the political tensions in the U.S., and that they explain to people they want nothing nefarious.

“My impression is that local residents don’t know how these waxwings and other birds, such as red-bellied woodpeckers, are of interest to birders,” Govatski told the Daily Sun.