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24 Oct 2014

Birds Prefer Pooping on Red Cars!

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Bright red cars attract more bird droppings than any others, according to research from British automotive supplier Halfords.Its researchers checked out 1,140 cars in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol over two consecutive days, and found that green cars came off best, followed by silver. White vehicles fared better than black.

Eighteen percent of red cars were marked with droppings, compared with 14 percent for blue, 11 for black, seven percent for white, three percent for grey or silver and just one percent for green.

Drivers were also asked how quickly they removed droppings from their cars. Only 17 percent said they wiped off deposits immediately when they saw them, and 20 per cent said they took action 'within a couple of days' - but 55 per cent waited until the next car wash. The remaining eight percent never washed their cars or left it to others to organize.

Bird droppings can be an expensive problem, says Halfords car cleaning expert David Howells, costing British motorists £57 million a year in unnecessary repairs.

"This research does have a serious side because the problem annoys drivers, causes damaged paintwork and affects the value of vehicles," he says.

"To protect your body work from damage, droppings should be carefully cleaned off as soon as possible."

Car polish company Autoglym says the damage to vehicle paintwork comes not from the acid or alkali in bird feces, but from the paint lacquer softening and expanding to form an uneven mold around the dropping and producing a dull patch. The grainy poop of seed eating birds produces the most blemishes, so that pigeons are worse than seagulls.

Of course, the big question is why birds show this preference - it's unlikely, after all, to be aesthetic. Some drivers believe it's a question of how shiny the car is, and how well the bird can see its reflection; others that red might signal danger.

The British Trust for Ornithology says it doesn't have an explanation.

"We do know that birds can be attracted to certain colors during display but it (droppings on cars) is probably more to do with where you park," says a spokesperson.

"If birds poop on your shiny red car more than on those of your neighbors, don't take it personally: it's just the color.

"If you park where birds roost then you are going to get more droppings on your vehicle."