Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …
Recently, I walked to my car in the parking lot at my place of part-time employment..
There, on the hood of my “cyber-orange” truck, was a splatter of white stuff and some gritty-looking material, roughly 5 inches in diameter.
There were splatters on my windshield as well as my rear view mirror and even the driver’s side window.
Without performing a microscopic examination, I decided I had been hit by a bird.
A quick look around the parking lot revealed signs of other “droppings”, somewhat resembling a military area where bombers might practice strafing.
This is not the first time a bird has ever “pooped” on one of my vehicles.
It took a big container of water plus a few paper towels to remove this white-washing.
I felt this “hit” demanded a closer investigation.
First off, birds have kidneys but they don’t have bladders.
This white stuff, if you’ll pardon the expression, is actually “bird pee”.
Any “color” is residue from things a bird may have eaten, such as seeds, berries, vegetables or insects.
So birds actually “pee poop”.
Normally, there is no smell or odor to typical bird droppings.
However, folks with chickens will tell you chicken manure possesses quite an aroma.
My sister used to have a friend who ran a chicken farm.
The first time my sister stopped by for a visit, she said, “Whew! What’s that smell?”
Her friend said, “Profit!”.
Guess it all depends on your perspective.
However, gardeners like chicken manure, because mixing it with soil increases the nutritional content and water-holding ability.
Then I wondered how often do birds do this “pee poop” thing.
Depending on the size of the bird, it can average anywhere from 20 to 50 times a day.
Now, bird droppings can be costly.
The size of the one I experienced I feared might have dented the hood but that didn’t happen.
However, bird-droppings do up to $60 million a year in damage to vehicles by damaging the paint finish.
I’ve learned that the paint lacquer actually softens and expands to form a mold, of sorts around the dropping, producing a dull patch.
Vehicle paint and body people said I did a good thing by removing my white-washing as soon as I did.
By the way, if a bird consumes too much liquid, the droppings will be loose and runny.
(I think the bird that struck my truck might have been out drinking with the boys the night before.)
(Perhaps at a crow bar?)
Is that a “Dad joke?”
I wondered if the bright, shiny color of my truck had anything to do with my targeting.
Interestingly enough, bright red cars seem to be the preferred targets.
Blue is second, followed by black and white.
White vehicles seem to be favored by the “colored berry eaters” but that might be due to the fact the white stuff just doesn’t show up as well.
Grey, silver and green vehicles seem to get “poohed on” the least.
Another factor might be that birds are attracted by shiny vehicles because they can see their reflections better in them.
Also, parking near trees won’t help keep your vehicle “droppings free”.
Stay away from buildings, light posts and utility wires, too.
Interestingly enough, dull or bright white color signals danger and alarm to our feathered friends.
Many birds target our vehicles as a way to “mark their territory.
I’ve often wondered if car wash businesses ever tried to coerce birds into targeting vehicles.
Might be worth a little extra seed, fruit or suet for the winged creatures if they could improve on the frequency of their targeting.
That’s what sort of bothers me because we feed the birds in the winter and you’d thing they might “miss us” more often as a way to say “Thanks!” for the cold-weather meals.
Did you know that in some cultures, folks do “bird-poop facials”?
I recall one of my aunts coming close to that when a bird reportedly dropped some goodies on the top of her prom hairdo.
According to NBA star Dwayne Wade, it’s good luck to have a bird “pooh” on you.
He’s not alone.
Some folks think it’s the start of good fortune and that riches are headed your way.
Some believe a bird “poohing” on you is a sign that you need to slow down and savor life.
Just like Paul Simon suggested in “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”.
“Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kickin’ down the cobblestones.
Lookin’ for fun and feeling’ groovy.”