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Naughty Birdwatching

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Image by Jason Love. Used with permission.

Mannion: She's sure taking a long time in that shower!
Wiley: Yeah, honey, come on over here by the window!
Insignia: Don't you do it, honey! You take your own sweet time!
Stefanowski: There's another one over by the washbasin—taking a shampoo.
Insignia: Yeah. But why the hell don't she take her bathrobe off! That's a stupid damn way to take a shampoo!

The use of binoculars or telescopes for prurient, non-ornithological purposes. Typically consists of men ogling women who are busy getting undressed, taking a shower or having sex.

A favorite activity of The Peeping Tom. See also Binocular Shot.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Being a series about astronomy, binoculars are usually used in Asteroid in Love for its intended purpose. In the Print Bonus Suzu's Research, however, we see the local Yuri Fan Moe using them to do Girl Watching, to the point of Stalker Without A Crush.
  • Subverted in Chapter 1 of Shiawase Tori-mingu. While in a park, Suzu noticed a girl who is drooling and moaning "Suzu" while spying at her direction with a pair of binoculars, and thoguht the other girl is engaging in this trope. It turns out that Tsubasa, the other girl, is a birdwatching otaku, and she was actually watching Suzu-me (sparrows).
  • In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen (at least the anime adaptation), Orphen is spying on Cleao when Rin catches him and asks what he's doing. Orphen claims to be birdwatching, with Rin assuming it's the naughty kind when he snatches the binoculars and looks for himself. Cleao also assumes this is what's going on. However, he's just trying to get an idea of her magical ability.
  • Touch (1981): In several chapters Tatsuya and his friends spy on the girls with binoculars as they are using the lockers room (a plot point during the early volumes was that Tatsuya had accidentally broke a friend's binoculars as spying and he had to find a mean to pay for them).

    Comic Strip 
  • Mocked by MAD magazine one of in their "The Shadow Knows!" side features, showing an astronomer in the foreground using his telescope for its intended purpose, but his shadow (representing his actual feelings) has gleefully swiveled it around to peep into the windows of the adjacent YWCA, which features some scantily clad women.

    Comic Books 
  • Accidental version in one Gaston Lagaffe story where Fantasio brings a telescope to the office as he intends to go stargazing that night. Gaston uses it to look at the building opposite. Naturally, Fantasio ends up in the wrong place when a very angry middleweight champion in a bathrobe comes up to wrap the telescope around the peeping tom's neck.

    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: In chapter 5 some of the military men spy on Asuka and the other girls with binoculars while they're sunbathing. Jessika even lampshades that they may be being watched.
  • The Many Worlds Interpretation: Raj K and the boys are giving Ponder Stibbons from the Discworld practical educaton in how astronomy works on a spherical world. They set a telescope up on the roof of 2311 North Los Robles. Policemen visiting for a different reason warn them to make sure it only points at the sky, guys. A friendly cop advises them about the woman in the apartment block opposite who undresses in front of an open window, and even tells them which window. ("You get what I'm sayin', guys?") Howard Wolowitz assures him the telescope will go nowhere near that window. Then he goes back to the apartment to find a pair of binoculars.

    Film — Animated 
  • Derek claims to be bird watching (at night) when teenage Jane catches him spying on her with binoculars in Tarzan (2013).
  • Megamind uses a PG-rated version of this. One of the first major hints that giving Hal superpowers was a bad idea is that he uses his newfound abilities to peep on Roxanne while she's in her apartment. Since this is a kids' movie, he only sees her doing her chores (or at least, that's all we see him see), but the effect is the same, showing his complete lack of regard for Roxanne's privacy and inability to accept that she just isn't into him.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the film Almost Heroes, there is a scene where Leslie is admiring a woman bathing in a pond through his telescope. When Bartholomew asks him what he is looking at, Leslie lets him look, but the woman had moved and a man had taken her place. Hilarious misunderstanding ensues... but is quickly cut short when Leslie looks through again in response to Bartholomew's shock and moves the telescope to aim in the direction of the woman while chiding the man for taking her place.
  • Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra: During the "I Feel Good" song, Amonbofis/Criminalis spies on the palace worksite by holding his hands like binoculars, with it looking like from his POV like he's actually using binoculars. He's briefly distracted by three women before he spots Asterix and Obelix.
  • Marty's teenaged father in Back to the Future spies on his future mother as she undresses with her window open.
    Marty: (disgusted) He's a peeping tom!
    • Earlier (in the film), over dinner in 1985, Marty's mother asks his father what he was doing in the tree.
    Lorraine: Bird-watching?
    • Also this dialogue, after Marty pushed his dad to safety as his grandpa hit him with his car.
  • Billy Two Hats: While Billy is using a spyglass to keep watch over Spencer's ranch, he catches a glimpse of Spencer's topless wife Esther when she's bathing.
  • The Bloody Man: At one point in the middle of the movie, Michael is shown looking through his binoculars into the window of the house next door. He's watching a girl undress, though he's interrupted before he can see anything explicit.
  • The Monster Squad. There is a telescope in the boys' birdhouse which just happens to point in the direction of a teenage girl's unshaded window. May have been a contributing factor in convincing Rudy to join the mostly-kids' club.
  • Body Double. The protagonist uses a telescope to watch a beautiful woman in another building who likes to do an erotic dance while scantily clad. This sets off the plot when he notices another man watching her, who he suspects has different intentions.
  • In Death Walks on High Heels, Captain Lenny is a retired naval officer who keeps a telescope at his cottage window for looking out to sea. When Nicole moves into the cottage next door, he starts using it to watch her when he discovers she doesn't draw the curtains and likes walking around the house naked. This turns him into a "Rear Window" Witness when she is murdered while he is spying on her.
  • Jon Lovitz's character in the opening of Little Nicky, who is spying on a woman from a window. He falls out of the tree to his death and winds up in Hell.
  • Matt from Mad Love (1995) is stargazing through a telescope when he sees Casey jet skiing. He is so taken with her that he starts spying on her house, watching her dance to music in her room. When Casey visits his house, she looks through his telescope and finds it pointed at her room. She's furious, but forgives him surprisingly quickly.
  • The Malibu Bikini Shop. The changing rooms in the shop are equipped with one-way mirrors so people can watch the women getting dressed/undressed.
  • Disney's Midnight Madness: when the Yellow Team arrives at the telescope for the next clue, the telescope is currently being used by a little boy viewing "Venus", a woman undressing.
  • Mister Roberts. As in the Theatre version, the sailors (who are sexually frustrated because their tyrannical captain has repeatedly denied them shore leave) use their binoculars to spy on a hospital without curtains on the nurses shower. When the nurses visit the ship, Ensign Pulver very helpfully offers them binoculars so they can look at their hospital while the men frantically try to stop him. The nurses quickly spot that their showers are easily visible and leave immediately to put up some curtains.
  • The Monster Squad: Initially Rudy seems most interested in joining the Monster Club because their clubhouse has a perfect view into the window of Patrick's sister's bedroom, where he can use binoculars to watch her undress and take photos.
  • Most Likely to Murder (2018): Billy spies on Lowell's window through binoculars in the early morning, hoping to see him having sex with Kara. Instead he sees Lowell scream, then go outside to throw something out. The next morning Lowell's mother is found dead, and Lowell claims he was asleep at the time Billy saw him awake, leading Billy to suspect that he murdered her.
  • In My Bodyguard, Clifford and his father use a telescope to spy on people in other buildings from the balcony of their hotel suite.
  • In Radio Days, Joe and his friends start out searching for fighter planes with a pair of binoculars but end up far more entertained by a woman dancing naked in front of her window.
  • Jeff in Rear Window spies on his neighbors out of boredom while he's laid up, including a shapely dancer he calls "Miss Torso". Then things get serious when he suspects one of them has murdered his wife.
  • In Relative Fear, Earl uses the telescope his daughter gave him for his birthday to spy on female joggers.
  • Sliver. This is the central theme of the entire movie, as everybody spies on everybody.
  • Stripes. A U.S. Army officer uses a telescope to watch female troops in a shower. He drops it out the window when a superior officer walks in on him.
  • The Sheriff in Voyage of the Rock Aliens uses her telescope to spy on a shirtless man exercising in front of a window. While trying to get a good look, she accidentally jerks the telescope upwards, allowing her to see the aliens' spaceship.
  • Young Pink gets caught using binoculars to watch a woman undress while smoking in his room by his mother in The Wall. He was about 10 at the time.
  • Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941) uses a high-powered astronomical telescope to ogle Gwen Conliffe.

  • 1-800-Where-R-U: Both of Jess's brothers have a tendency to spy on their neighbor Claire Lipman, who spends much of her time sunbathing, through binoculars.
  • Subverted in Alas, Babylon. Mrs. Henry assumes her neighbor Randall is ogling her through his binoculars, but it turns out he's really watching her pet lovebirds, which he thinks are Carolina Parakeets, which went extinct some 40 years before the events of the story.
  • Blitzfreeze by Sven Hassel. The Old Un gets infuriated with the Skewed Priorities of his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits when he catches them watching the nurses in a nearby barracks take showers, while they're on a commando mission behind enemy lines—in the middle of Moscow, no less.
  • Robert Westall's Futuretrack Five has the Ests who spy on the Fens population via listening devices and binoculars whilst pretending to be birdwatchers.
  • In Rip Tide 1984, an 80's thriller by Donald D. Cheatham, the protagonist has a telescope for viewing a nearby nudist beach. After checking out one lovely naked lass he realises he needs to start dating again and impulsively rings up his Fair Cop superior and asks her out.
  • In "The Sandman (1816)" by E. T. A. Hoffmann, excessively romantic student Nathanael purchased a telescope specifically to watch an enigmatic girl in the neighbour's window and quickly fell for her head over heels. To buy it from the creepy merchant whom he suspected in being the evil alchemist who killed his father perhaps wasn't a good idea, though.
  • In Then Again, Maybe I Won't, a 1971 young adult novel written by Judy Blume, a boy discovers the girl next door likes to undress in front of the window. So he asks for some binoculars for Christmas for "bird watching" from his parents.
  • In Truth or Dare (2000), Josh volunteers to sit with Gran because her bedroom is the only place where he can see into the neighbours' garden, where Katherine sunbathes in a bikini. He uses Patrick's old binoculars to get a better look.
  • In his biography Will, G. Gordon Liddy was assigned to an anti-aircraft radar unit in New York, and noticed a Big Board marked with times and azimuths. Turns out there was a powerful telescope slaved to the radar, and the board marked when/where certain young ladies in the surrounding skyscrapers had their shower. However their superiors cracked down after facing irate complaints from locals that the army was 'sterilizing' their daughters. Turns out the operators had started using the telescope to check out women walking down the street, who were not pleased to see a huge radar dish pointing at them.

    Live Action TV 
  • A series of sketches on Alas Smith and Jones, with the capper being the reveal (as it were) that, while Mel and Grif are obsessing over seeing glimpses of women in their nightwear, there are two naked, and increasingly bored and bewildered, women in the flat with them.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Subverted. Raj is watching The Good Wife through a telescope while the guys are doing a moon experiment.
    • Played straight when Raj and Howard use satellite footage to locate the mansion where America's Next Top Model is being taped.
  • In the Broad City episode "Friendiversary," Abbi and Ilana use the binoculars on the Empire State Building to watch people in the surrounding buildings have sex and masturbate.
  • Colonel March of Scotland Yard: In "The New Invisible Man", Major Rodman is a Dirty Old Man who surveys the neighbourhood with his old field glasses, and in particular the house opposite where a pretty young bride lives, on the pretext of checking the weather. All of the street knows of his proclivities. However, while doing so he inadvertently becomes a "Rear Window" Witness.
  • The Pilot Episode of Family Matters showed Eddie doing this before Carl came up to the attic for a father-son chat. Carl took the binoculars before leaving.
  • Frasier and Niles use a telescope to spy into other apartments in Seattle. Their father despairs:
    Frasier: Oh my God... breathtaking.
    Niles: (impatient) Well, don't be greedy! Your turn was over forty seconds ago!
    Frasier: All right, all right, Niles, all right. [steps away] It's the penthouse unit, fourth from the left.
    Niles: (swooning) Oh, mama!
    Martin: You two know that what you're doing isn't right, don't you?
    Frasier: We're simply admiring a very rare Brancusi armchair, not a naked woman.
    Martin: (sighing) That's what I'm talking about.
    • In the episode where the telescope was introduced, Martin says he could use it to look at the falcons in Columbia Tower. When Frasier suggests other uses, Martin replies that he used to arrest people for that. Frasier continues to point it at the building opposite, and Martin forms a connection with a woman in that building who also has a telescope.
  • In the "Paris" episode of The Hogan Family, Mark and Willie use the binoculars on the top of Eiffel Tower to spy on a young woman sunbathing topless, though the money runs out just before she turns around.
  • How to Be Indie: In "How to Get on Carlos Martinelli's Capital 'L' List, and Live", Indie thinks AJ is doing this when she walks in on him using his telescope, but he is actually just trying to observe an eclipse of the moon. However, when his friend Chuck learns that AJ has a view of their Hot Teacher's house (and that AJ has seen her in a towel), Chuck plays it straight (and gets busted by the teacher).
  • George Jackson in the Inspector Morse episode "The Dead of Jericho".
  • Subverted on Last of the Summer Wine when Howard uses birdwatching as an excuse to meet up with Marina (his lover) in the privacy of a secluded hut. However, he is so determined to ensure his that knowledge of ornithology is good enough to withstand any questions that Pearl (his wife) might ask that he spends most of the time actually birdwatching, much to Marina's disgust.
  • In one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, the Krelboyne are over at Malcolm's house and one asks if Malcolm plans to watch a meteor shower. Another suggests that after watching the meteor shower, they can watch Mrs. Feldman shower.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • In "Child's Play", Murdoch is demonstrating his new invention 'the circumscope' (a periscope) to Crabtree and commenting on how useful it will be for surveillance. Crabtree agrees as he uses it to ogle a woman in corset who is leaning out of a window to beat a rug.
    • The Victim of the Week in "Big Murderer on Campus" is shot while using a telescope to spy on a coed undressing.
  • My World… and Welcome to It: When comely new widow Mrs. Bessinger moves next door to John in "The Middle Years," he initially ogles her from his studio window while she's sunbathing. Later, things degenerate further when John uses binoculars to gawk at her.
  • Naturally, Sadie: A variant (as there are no binoculars involved) occurs in "Forest for the Trees". Sadie is sitting in her favourite tree spying on her crush Owen Anthony. Owen spots her and thinks she is sitting there as a protest to the tree being cut down. Rather than admit what she was actually doing, Sadie goes along with this, leading to a Protest By Obstruction.
  • In an episode of NCIS, a pair of Marines discover a murder while using a spy satellite to check out a female officer sunbathing nude on a naval base.
  • The Professionals
    • At the end of "Killer With A Long Arm" Cowley catches Bodie and Doyle sniggering over a long range sniper rifle they've captured. He takes a peek through the telescopic sight and sure enough finds it pointed at a scantily-dressed girl in an apartment a couple of miles away. Cowley chews out the shamefaced pair...then corrects their estimation of the girl's dimensions.
    • The lads are oft seen enlivening a boring stakeout by checking out any passing birds.
      Bodie: Cor, got a great glimpse out here, mate. Look at this.
      (Doyle looks out the window to see a woman doing yoga)
      Bodie: Bet she's got a lovely full lotus.
  • In early seasons of Smallville Clark uses a telescope in his "fortress of solitude" (aka the loft in the barn) to admire his love interest/neighbor Lana Lang from afar.
  • Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1 is ribbed about having a telescope on his roof to spy on his neighbors, a fact he doesn't exactly deny.
    Sam Carter: But, during the totality phase of the eclipse, you should be able to see matter spiraling towards it [the black hole].
    Jack O'Neill: "Actually, it's called the Accretion Disk."
    Daniel Jackson: "Well, I guess it's easy to understand why the local population would be afraid of something like that... [Beat] what did you just say?"
    Jack O'Neill: "It's just an astronomical term."
    Sam Carter: "You didn't think the Colonel had a telescope on his roof just to look at the neighbors, did you?"
    Jack O'Neill: "Not initially."
  • A Whitest Kids U Know sketch features a woman stripping down to her underwear to do gymnastics in her living room, which the two apparent-teenagers spying on her through binoculars conclude is her knowing she's watched and liking it — so they point a laser pointer at her. This causes her to have a heart attack, which leads to a chain of disasters that leaves her, her significant other, her child and two police officers dead. The teenagers are understandable panicking about this course of events... until they spot another woman getting out of a shower.

  • The video for Rod Stewart's "Infatuation" shows him doing this.
  • How the Stalker with a Crush first sees the title character of the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Melanie".
  • The animated music video for Wheeler Walker Jr.'s song "Drop 'Em Out" has Wheeler briefly spying on a woman in her underwear from outside her house.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • Oliver has fun with his telescope in Bloom County:
    Oliver: August 10th. 2:35 a.m.. Temp. 72 degrees. With Jupiter in its final phase, Pluto's moon is visible and startlingly radiant. ... As is Mary Lou Farnheimer's. No no - scratch that.
  • An old The Wizard of Id cartoon had an astronomer using his telescope for closer examination of a "heavenly body".

  • A Dead Ringers sketch (later redone for the TV version) has Patrick Moore claiming that he actually has no interest in astronomy, but was caught Naughty Birdwatching in The '50s by the police and 'thinking quickly, I told them I was an astronomer. And they bought it! As did the BBC'.

    Stand Up Comedy 
  • Larry the Cable Guy uses this in a joke:
    "I was seeing this girl for about six weeks, until someone took my binoculars."

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement The Asylum and Other Tales, adventure "The Auction". An astronomer has a telescope in his apartment which he uses for his secret hobby, voyeurism.

  • In the first scene of Mister Roberts, the sailors use their binoculars and spyglasses to spy on two attractive blonde twin nurses. One of them suggests that they could get a closer look without being seen by sneaking up on them as Mobile Shrubbery.

    Video Games 
  • An NPC from EarthBound Beginnings plays with this, as he's shown standing near a window. Talk to him, and he gets startled and claims he's doing research about baths.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, one of the all-bird high school's extracurricular activities is a birdwatching club. Canon leaves it an amusing unknown, but fanon naturally holds that it's a voyeurism club.
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • There is a telescope that can be added to your campsite, obtained in an optional dungeon, which can be used to either look at the stars for a stat boost or look at the Naughty Sorceress's tower to see what set of randomized challenges await you. Of course, given that the constellations are all Double Entendres, it might actually be looking at the stars that's the real Naughty Birdwatching.
    • Previously, players could use the observatory (before it was destroyed by a comet) to look into the Sorceress's chamber itself. She would then retaliate with a magical flash of light, causing temporary blindness, and a nearby astronomer would express disapproval of "base voyeurism" while adjusting his polarized sunglasses.
  • One of the first things you can do in Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals. How much Boobage you get to see depends on how well you've done in the Adult Content quiz at the start of the game.
  • In the first level from Neighbours From Hell, Rottweiler uses a pair of binoculars to spy on the lady who lives opposite undressing. Woody can use super glue on them as part of a prank.
  • In Silent Scope, one of the ways to recover health is to use your rifle's scope to spy on sunbathing females.
  • In The Sims 2 sims using a telescope during the daytime will sometimes spy on a neighbourhood sim, who will get mad and come over and slap them.
    • Don Lothario has a telescope on his balcony, and no interest in science or sci-fi. He does have an interest in the Caliente sisters next door...
  • Summertime Saga:
    • There's a mounted telescope in the Main Character's bedroom. Unsurprisingly, he mostly uses this to spy on his neighbors, such as Mrs. Johnson getting dressed and Mia masturbating with a stuffed animal.
    • Surprisingly subverted with his best friend Erik. He mentions that he uses his binoculars to watch boobies, but it turns out he really does enjoy watching blue-footed boobies.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Rocko's Modern Life
    • In "Bedfellows", Bev does this quite enthusiastically when Heffer hosts a nudist's party in Rocko's backyard. Ed started it, "just to see what that weirdo next door was up to." Bev orders Ed to get the telescope.
    • "Camera Shy" has the infamous scene where Heffer and Filburt film Rocko walking down a staircase "Completely NAAAKEEED," "With no clothes on!"
    • "Sucker for the Suck-o-Matic" has a field of what looks like naked fairies flying around Rocko's unkempt yard, before the titular vacuum uses its grass cutting function to trim the yard and suck up all the fairies. The only thing left behind is a squirrel in his underwear, grinning and panting while looking through binoculars, before lowering them and looking disappointed.
  • Tuca & Bertie: "The Deli Guy" features a scene where a human girl watches Bertie and Speckle make out.


Video Example(s):


Peeping George

Marty discovers one of the pastimes his father had as a teenager.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / NaughtyBirdwatching

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