Which Car Color Attracts the Most Bird Poop?

Red car drivers beware — your ride could be a bird magnet.

pigeon on red car

For weeks, you’ve driven around with “Wash Me” etched on your back window, boldly defying cleanliness and dirty looks alike. You’ve contemplated a (pricey) trip to the car wash. You even prayed for rain.

One day, the dirt finally becomes too much and you cave in. You wash your car and give it a good wax, but the next day — splat. A pigeon poops on your hood.

If this has happened to you, chances are you’ve wondered: “Why me? Is it karma … or just the car I drive?”

Well, according to a recent study from the UK, the color of your car could make your ride more prone to avian waste. So which colors are bird magnets?

Birds poop on red cars most

Though red cars don’t cost more to insure, they do attract more bird droppings than any other car color. A study sponsored by Halfords (a car accessory chain) measured the frequency with which 1,140 cars in 5 cities around the UK got bird bombed and found that red cars were hit the most (18 percent of cars attacked were red). Green cars, on the other hand, were generally spared (only 1 percent of the cars pooped on were green).

Why this color preference among the birds? Do red cars fire their tempers? Are green cars just so pacific (and rare) that the birds want to give them amnesty? So far, only the birds know, but maybe one day they’ll tweet us the answer.

Why bird droppings damage car paint

For years, we’ve heard that the alkaline and acidic substance of bird doo-doo corrodes car paint, eventually etching the damage into the paint itself.

But according to research from Autoglym, car-care experts based in the UK (is it me or are the Brits obsessed?), it’s not the acid that’s to blame — it’s the heat.

Say you park your just-pooped-on car in the sun. The sun’s rays will warm the paint so that it softens and expands while hardening the droppings on its surface. Once the lacquer cools, it hardens and molds to birdie’s little gift, dulling the paint.

How to clean bird poop

Okay, we all know that soap and water will work wonders on wet and dry droppings alike. But is there a secret removal technique we don’t know about?

Autoglym experts recommend removing the dropping ASAP with a moist cloth to gently lift the unwanted deposit from the surface. If it’s dried, place a damp cloth over it for 10 minutes and then remove.

Others recommend pouring unsalted seltzer water over the dropping and wiping it with a microfiber cloth once the water has bubbled away.

What’s your tried-and-true method for easy removal?

Related link

6 tips for an eco-friendly car wash


15 Responses to “Which Car Color Attracts the Most Bird Poop?”

  1. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    February 19, 2013 #

    That explains everything! (my car is red). Next topic: do birds prefer bald heads??!!

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      Anne Le Tran
      February 19, 2013 #

      Great suggestion!

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      January 23, 2014 #


    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      Lynette Wilson
      November 12, 2014 #

      According to my car they like shiny black ones.

      • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
        November 28, 2014 #

        I'm with you Lynette! My shiny black Town Car is a bird poop magnet. I swear that birds fly 10 miles out of their way to crap on my car–and I'm in the limo biz so my car HAS to look perfect all the time. I loathe birds!!

  2. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    henry miller
    February 19, 2013 #

    Do cranes in flight like red car too ? maybe a stupid question but a good title for a novel i think !

  3. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    August 7, 2014 #

    If you are parked under a tree the color doesn't matter.

  4. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    TX Boomer
    December 14, 2014 #

    I didn't see the stat on what percentage of cars were red, blue, green, black, etc. If 5% of the total cars were red, then the birds have a red fetish. If 50% of the total cars were red, go back and do a new study…

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      January 20, 2015 #

      The study said 18%

      • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
        January 25, 2015 #

        That's the % of cars hit which were red. Boomer is asking out of the total cars parked around the observed cities what % of them were red. Without this info, the study is meaningless. Why? Well, the blog acknowledges green cars are rare so there are fewer of them on the city streets to be targeted by the birds. Hence, the expected result of having the lowest % of hits.

  5. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    December 29, 2014 #

    If I find the poop already dried, I reach for a motel key card I keep in my door pocket… Spritz a bit of window cleaner on the area, and wipe it clean w/paper towels from the trunk kit.

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      February 1, 2015 #

      Yuck, there are diseases in bird crap. If you must scrape it off, use something disposable or clean it with alcohol.

  6. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    Joanne Valiando
    May 31, 2015 #

    My ten year old Royal Blue Honda Chariot is a status symbol for Royalty, as a child of the King of the Universe. My confidence is Divinely based.

  7. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    Joanne Valiando
    May 31, 2015 #

    Royal Blue Honda gets fair share of bird droppings. Color for Royalty. Ask me why?

  8. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    April 19, 2016 #

    I have a light grey suv when I'm at home bird popped on my car when at work there are no trees around birds dropped on my car nobody else but mine I just don't understand!

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