When birds see red: Crimson cars get hit with more droppings than vehicles of any other colour
Bright red cars attract more bird droppings than vehicles of any other colour, according to a study.
Scientists recorded the frequency that birds left their mark on cars in five cities around Britain, and found crimson vehicles were targeted the most.
They observed that some 18 per cent of red cars were marked with droppings, while green cars were found to suffer the least with just 1 per cent marked.
Researchers also noted that white cars escaped more often than black in their analysis of 1,140 vehicles in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol.
Although there is no science to back the theory, some drivers believe birds target red cars because they see the colour as signifying danger and attack.
During the study by researchers for car accessories chain Halfords, drivers were also asked how quickly they removed droppings from their cars.
Only 17 per cent - or one in six - said they wipe off deposits as soon as they saw them, while 20 per cent said they take action 'within a couple of days' and 55 per cent wait until the next car wash.
The remaining 8 per cent never wash their cars or leave it to others to organise.
As well as being unsightly, insurance industry figures show bird droppings on vehicles can be an expensive problem and estimate the damage caused by stained paintwork costs motorists £57million a year in unnecessary repairs.
Halfords car cleaning expert David Howells said: 'This research does have a serious side because the problem annoys drivers, causes damaged paintwork and affects the value of vehicles. To protect your bodywork from damage, droppings should be carefully cleaned off as soon.'
The report also said that theories abound on motoring and social networking websites as to why birds are attracted to fouling some cars more than others.
A Lexus driver reckoned newly polished cars suffer because birds see a reflection of themselves.
A Ford Focus owner agreed and said the darker the colour the deeper the reflection and the more violent the reaction.
An Alfa Romeo owner said it depends where you park and a Mercedes driver said blue was the worst as it reminded birds of water.
Others thought birds saw red as a danger while others thought they went for similar colours to their own plumage, such as in seaside resorts seagulls went for white cars, while in cities pigeons go for grey.
Leading car polish experts Autoglym said the damage to vehicle paintwork is not caused by the acid or alkali in bird faeces, but from paint lacquer softening and expanding to form an uneven mould around the dropping which produces a dull patch.
Grainier textures from seed eating birds produce the most blemishes, so pigeons are worse for motorists than seagulls.
A spokesman for Autoglym also said that bird dropping damage can only be prevented by owners removing the poop as soon as possible.
The British Trust for Ornithology is more circumspect on the role of colour in the 'drop zone' for birds.
A spokesman said: 'We do know that birds can be attracted to certain colours during display but droppings on cars are probably more to do with where you park; if you park where birds roost then you are going to get more droppings on your vehicle.'
Source: Daily Mail