Most drivers have at some point returned to a parked car to find it spattered with bird poo. Once in a while is inevitable, but bird poop can damage a car’s finish and is best avoided if possible. It’s a particular problem in areas with a high bird population, such as near rivers, lakes or coastlines. While it may seem easier said than done since birds go where they like, there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of finding bird poo on your car.
Look At Where You Park
Birds perch in trees, on the edges of buildings, on lamp posts and signs, and on telegraph poles and wires. Anything that might serve as a rest or nesting spot for a bird might attract them. So, if it’s possible to avoid parking under trees or directly under a building line, that should help reduce the likelihood of it happening. Try and avoid lamp posts, poles, wires and signs for the same reason, particularly in urban areas.
Birds often drop poo just as they are flying off in order to minimise their weight for flying. So being near a “bird runway” might cause a problem. A spot may be underneath such a “runway”, where one or more birds have taken to flying off in a particular direction. This might explain why some parking spots seem to attract more poop than others. Moving the car to a different space may be enough to resolve things, although in areas of parking stress this may be easier said than done.
Obviously, avoiding bird nests during nesting season is desirable, as these will always generate a lot of avian coming and going. Birds may also be attracted to potential food sources. So check whether your favourite parking spaces are near some buckets or a neighbour’s bird feeder.
Parking under cover is obviously one solution. If a garage is not available, a carport canopy might solve the problem, but only if the roof of the carport does not in itself become a favourite perch for the local birds (see spikes further down).
Make The Car Unattractive
A piece of research a few years ago hit the headlines, as it seemed to find that the colour of the car made a difference in its attractiveness to birds. The research, commissioned by Halfords, appeared to show that red cars were more likely to be pooed on than cars of any other colour, while green cars were at the bottom of the list. However, to put a lot of faith in these findings you would need to take into account where exactly the cars were parked. Bird experts, including the British Trust for Ornithology, do not think that car colour would make a lot of difference from a bird behaviour point of view.
Protect The Wing Mirrors
While this is good news for red car drivers, what can be done to make a car less attractive to birds? One easy step is to fold in the wing mirrors every time you park. Birds can easily perch on a wing mirror and the mirror itself can attract birds, as they often “fight” or try to interact with their reflection. This can sometimes even damage the mirror. If you don’t have fold-in wing mirrors, cover them up when you park using something like a sock or a plastic bag.
Cover Up The Car
Depending on how long the car is left in one place, a car cover may be a worthwhile investment. The best car covers are lightweight, easily transportable and easy to handle. They should also be breathable so that trapped moisture doesn’t stay on the car underneath the cover. Straps should be plastic so that they won’t scratch the finish. A high-quality cover will also have some level of padding to protect the car from bumps as well.
There are numerous ways of preventing birds from pooing on your car by discouraging them from coming near it in the first place.
Use Scare Deterrents
An object that looks like an animal placed near the car might serve to frighten birds away, for example, a rubber snake or fox placed on the car. These can be bought in a variety of sizes and colours, as some experimentation might be necessary to find out what works best.
If the car is being pooped on while on your property, you could invest in a piece of garden or patio furniture such as a fake owl. If this is positioned so that birds flying in from all directions will see it, it could serve to discourage them from landing.
It should be noted that once the birds learn that these fake deterrents are not actually going to harm them, their effectiveness may diminish.
Place Shiny Objects
Reflections, particularly if they move around, may deter a bird because they think it’s a predator or competitor. In a static area, old CDs hung up with pieces of string so that they are free to turn in the wind might suffice. For parking spaces and journeys away, a kind of “reverse mobile” could be attached to the top of the car using a magnet. The key is that the CDs can move around in the breeze.
As well as CDs, tin foil, small mirrors or food cans could be used in similar ways. Reflective tape specifically with this use in mind can be bought in rolls. It’s also possible to combine methods and purchase reflective decoys in animal shapes.
If none of these work, gadgets are also available such as laser deterrents and reflective spinning mobiles, as well as devices similar to a weather vane that will sit on top of a vehicle and spin round, acting as a deterrent while at the same time preventing any bird from perching on the roof.
It’s possible to purchase devices that emit an ultrasonic radiation audible to birds but not people. These range from small devices to much larger ones with loudspeakers that will cover a large area. They will discourage birds from resting in nearby trees and poles etc. If considering one, it’s a good idea to check first that it will not cause any distress to your pets.
Use Smells or Scents
Birds don’t like strong smells such as chilli, garlic or pepper. A spray might encourage them to spend their time elsewhere. Sprays can be home made or purchased specifically for this purpose.
Deter Landing and Roosting
On your own property, a row of bird spikes will stop birds from landing in a particular place, such as the beams above a carport. For a smaller area such as a window sill, it might be worth trying double-sided sticky tape or sprinkling baking soda along the surface, as this may be enough to make it unpleasant for a bird to land.
Prevention is better than cure, and the best way of avoiding bird poop causing damage to your car’s paintwork and generally looking unsightly is to try and reduce the chances of it landing there in the first place. From choosing the best parking spot to protecting your car through to discouraging or preventing birds from coming near, there are numerous things to try which will not harm our feathered friends but which will also stop them from harming your car.