Do Red Cars Get the Most Bird Poop?

Updated on May 4, 2019
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

My car is important to me. I like it clean and tidy. Bird droppings are unsightly and annoying and can damage the paintwork.

Car covered with bird droppings in Rome, Italy.
Car covered with bird droppings in Rome, Italy. | Source

Are Red Cars Poop Magnets?

First I must declare an interest, I love red cars! My last car was red and the one before that was too. So I have personal experience of trying to clean off bird droppings from my car. The only reason my current car isn’t red is because there were none available at the right price when I bought it.

Like many other people, I was convinced my red car attracted far more bird droppings than those of my neighbors. However, people who own white cars believe their cars are dive-bombed more often than mine. So has it been proven that red cars are pooped on more often than other colors?

Survey Shows Red Cars Get The Most Poop

Halfords, a specialist UK auto-parts store, wanted to see whether the color of a car affects how many times birds poo onto a car’s bodywork. They surveyed the large UK cities of Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. In total 1,140 cars were examined by researchers over two consecutive days in June 2012.

Their key findings were that 18% of the red cars had bird droppings on them after two days. The next most popular car color with the birds was blue with 14% of blue cars having bird poop on them. The least popular color (as far as the dive-bombing birds were concerned) was green, with only 1% of these cars being affected after two days.

High Cost of Repairing Damaged Paintwork

Halfords concluded that damage caused by bird droppings to British motorists is around £57 million per year (US $89 million).

A media press release was issued and Halfords included advice about the importance of cleaning off bird droppings quickly. Cynics may be tempted to ask if the fact that Halfords sells appropriate cleaning materials was linked to their eagerness to spread the results of their research.

The Story Goes Viral

It must have been a slow news month; the story went viral. It was picked up by news agencies across North America, Australasia, Europe and beyond.

Apart from being a light-hearted way of getting a marketing message across, the research was not conducted with any scientific rigor. A few people have pointed this out and said that the survey results have no credibility. However, these naysayers have been largely ignored and news stories continue to appear both online and offline claiming that red cars attract more bird poo than other colors.

Car Covered in Droppings .... and the Car is Blue!

From having had many cars through the years, I have found the blue cars are targets for birds. From what I have heard, birds prefer to relieve themselves over water, which is why they target blue cars.

On a similar subject, I have found that red cars get crapped on by police much more than any other color. I have verified this with a few cops that I know. It seems that red attracts their attention, which is the last thing you want to do to a cop, especially if you drive like I do.

— George Ash, Rapid City, SD.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) says that in its view, where you park your car is of greater importance than the color of your car. For example, if you park your car under a tree in the evening beneath roosting birds, it is likely to result in your car having bird droppings on it by the morning.

The BTO has carried out its own research into the effect of bird droppings on cars. They discovered that pigeon droppings cause greater damage to car paintwork than those of seagulls do. This is due to the fact that pigeons are seed-eating birds. Their poop is grainier and rougher in texture than those of seagulls which are fish eaters. The excreta from seed eating birds therefore literally scratches your car paintwork. Even more reason to clean it off as quickly as possible.

Anti Bird Poop Device on Car

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Clean Off Bird Dung As Soon As Possible

Bird deposits contain a high amount of uric acid. Uric acid is corrosive, and quickly eats the wax coating or paint sealant and cuts through paint. For that reason, never let the poop stay too long on your car or you will have to spend a lot of money in the paint repair shop.

How to Remove Bird Droppings From Car Paintwork

Perhaps Birds Are Not the Whole Story?

There is another theory about what actually causes the damage to car paint that is currently blamed by motorists on bird poop. According to car care products manufacturer AutoGlym of Letchworth, UK, it is the car owners themselves that are the real culprits. They say that cars which are waxed and polished are better protected against bird droppings.

AutoGlym researchers tried out a variety of different bird poop substitutes on car paint. They varied the acid content and also the grain to liquid ratio. They found that the softness of the paint (which can be affected by high sunshine temperatures) influenced how easy or difficult it was to remove the poop without causing long-term damage. They concluded that motorists need to take better care of their cars and clean and polish them on a regular basis.

It comes as no surprise to learn that AutoGlym makes the exact wax products that are required to achieve this fight-back against aerial hits. You should draw your own conclusions about the objectivity of this “research”.

It's not just birds that can cause damage to a car's paintwork.
It's not just birds that can cause damage to a car's paintwork. | Source

How Can You Stop Birds From Pooping On Your Car?

If you have a covered parking space or garage, then use it. This is the best defense against low-flying bird poop. Otherwise, try to park away from trees and tall buildings that are used by birds as perches.

In urban areas you may have no choice about where to park, so regular cleaning and maintenance of your car will help limit the damage to your paintwork if you do score a direct hit.

Waxing and polishing your car provides a protective barrier against acidic bird excreta. The longer bird droppings are left on your car, the more damage they will cause. So check your car's paintwork regularly, and remove any poop as soon as you notice it.

Are Bird Droppings on a Car a Good or a Bad Omen?

There is an old belief that bird poop on you or your car is a sign of good fortune. Whether or not you agree depends on how superstitious you are. However, if you are thinking about good luck and riches to come, it is less of a chore to clean up the mess!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Submit a Comment
  • word55 profile image

    Al Wordlaw 

    5 years ago from Chicago

    Wow, what a subject. Glad I park my vehicle on average in a garage. Thanks for all the info.

  • angryelf profile image


    5 years ago from Tennessee

    This is pretty cool! I sure am glad my car is black. I guess I see it the way birds do... red vehicles are eyesores LOL. However, I park mine under a tree, so you can guess how bad that can get at times! Congrats! Great Hub!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Interesting, and congrats on HOTD!

    I recently had a spate of bird-doo on my cream-colored car, and I must say, it think it has more to do with where it's parked. At the time, it was in our carport, which is open on both ends, with open tubular framework on which the small birds love to perch out of the wind and sun.

    Since moving that car out of the carport, and trading places with the truck, (which leaks, so do not want it out in the rainy season), I've noticed very few droppings (the truck is brown); but also far fewer birds out and about.

    So, I think that both season and location are more closely correlated, in my experience. You did a great job of researching, and I enjoyed the article. Feel sorry for the poor bloke who owns that blue car!

    Voted up and interesting!

  • W1totalk profile image


    5 years ago

    This is a great, well researched article. I have a red car. I have been subject to some bird pooping but have not had the pummeling yet.

  • Randy Godwin profile image

    Randy Godwin 

    5 years ago from Southern Georgia

    Ha! I had a friend who bought a beautiful white Mercedes and parked it outside his house under a pecan tree. Little did he know his neighbors peacock and peafowl favored a limb over the car to perch for the night. What a mess!! lol! Enjoyed the read and congrats on HOTD.


  • KoraleeP profile image

    Koralee Phillips 

    5 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

    Interesting article topic :). I agree that where you park your car has more to do with what color it is. Where I live, in Canada, I haven't had problems with bird poop wrecking my paint. But this past summer, my friend had a big problem with droppings when she parked her grey Volkswagen under a certain tree on her street.

  • Beth Eaglescliffe profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Eaglescliffe 

    5 years ago from UK

    I think the place you park your car is going to be of greater importance than its color. However you could always try a small experiment. Get a friend with a different color car to park next to yours for 24 hours and see if there is any difference in the hit rates from birds.

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 

    5 years ago from California Gold Country

    I wonder if there is a difference in different geographical areas. We have many kinds of birds here and my silver /grey car is decorated regularly. Interesting hub, because anyone who has ever had a car has experienced the phenomenon.


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