Do Angry Birds (And Their Droppings) Really Prefer Red Cars?

June 26, 2012

The color of your car is important for a host of reasons: it reflects your personality, it affects your car's resale value, and according to researchers in the U.K., it determines how likely you are to be scraping bird poop off the hood every morning.

Study organizers set up shop in five cities throughout Britain -- Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, and Manchester -- where they tracked the color of cars most often hit by bird droppings. And to validate a theory that's popular among armchair ornithologists, scientists found that the biggest losers were red cars.

Of the 1,140 vehicles tracked, 18% of those painted red were tagged with bird droppings. At the other end of the scale, just 1% of green vehicles had been targeted. Here's the list by percentages:

  • Red - 18%
  • Blue - 14%
  • Black - 11%
  • White - 7%
  • Grey/Silver - 3%
  • Green - 1%


Many scientists and drivers insist that the color of a car has nothing to do with its likelihood of being bird-bombed. To them, defecation isn't an act of aggression or defense, so the only way to predict whether you'll be dealing with bird poop at the end of the day is simply to watch where you park your car.

Even those who think that car color might have something to do with bird droppings may look askance at this study. After all, they could argue, is it really surprising that droppings were found on such a slim percentage of silver cars? Silver is a hugely popular car color, constituting about 17% of the market, both here and in Europe. Scientists might've observed scores of silver cars covered in poop, but because there were so many of them, the overall percentage was low.

But then, how do those naysayers explain green's position at the very bottom of the list?  A mere 2% of North American cars are painted green, and the figure drops to 1% in Europe. Even if just a handful of the observed green cars were hit with droppings, wouldn't green's position have been further up the list?

We're not bird-watchers or scientists, so we don't have a strong opinion on this one, but we admit, the results are intriguing. Would it be too much trouble to grab Stephen Hawking (or David Attenborough!) for the next go-round?

[via Detroit Free Press]

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