The U.K.'s Daily Mail reported the findings of a study just completed in Britain. They tell us now that in a study of 1,140 vehicles in five cities, bright red vehicles attract bird droppings more than any other color.
What gives? According to reporter Graham Smith, scientists recorded the frequency with which birds left their mark on cars in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol. They observed that 18 percent of red cars were marked with droppings while green cars were found to suffer the least with just 1 percent bearing bird 'signatures'.
Researchers also noted that white cars escaped more often than black. While there is no science to support the theory, some drivers said they believe birds target red cars because the color makes them aggressive and they see red as signifying danger and attack.
Here's how the study quantified bird's poop preferences by vehicle color:
Red: 18 percent
Blue: 14 percent
Black: 11 percent
White: 7 percent
Grey/Silver: 3 percent
Green: 1 percent
Apparently theories that stretch to explain why birds behave the way they do are available from all corners. A Lexus driver suggested that newly polished cars suffer because birds see a reflection of themselves.
A Ford Focus owner told Smith that the darker the color, the deeper the reflection and the more violent the 'reaction.'
An Alfa Romeo owner said it depends where you park and a Mercedes owner said blue was the worst because it reminded birds of water.
Others thought bird saw red as danger, and auto expert Brian Watkins, based in Florida, said "Maybe they get crazy for the same reason bulls do when they see red? They see red cars and let loose!"
Of course, there's a serious side to the discussion too. David Howells, a car cleaning expert from Halford's (the auto supply chain that commissioned the study) says the droppings damage vehicle paintwork and affect the value.
The study also asked motorists how quickly they removed bird droppings from their vehicles. Only 17 percent (1 in 6) said they wiped off deposits as soon as they saw them. 20 percent said they take action "within a couple of days" and 55 percent said they waited until the next car wash. (The remaining 8 percent never wash their cars or leave it to others to clean up.)
Failure to remove the mess ASAP is a big mistake. Howells emphasized the importance of removing the deposits as quickly as possible because the deposits can quickly damage paint, softening the paint lacquer which expands to form an uneven mold around the droppings which produces a dull patch. Experts also say certain birds do more damage than others... you don't want to know the details -- just clean it up quickly!!