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Why Bird Poop Is White

And why you don't want to own a red car!

Birds brighten our lives. They connect us with nature. But sometimes they connect us a bit too directly with nature. Park under the wrong tree - where a flock of starlings or grackles comes to roost - and nature may cover your car so thickly that it takes a trip or two through the carwash just to see through the windshield again. And why is most of the bird poop we see white? The answer is that birds, unlike mammals, don't produce urine. Instead they excrete nitrogenous wastes in the form of uric acid, which emerges as a white paste. Owners of red cars, look out! A study in England found that red cars are most likely to be the target of bird droppings!

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Why Is Bird Poop White?

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
 [Black-headed Grosbeak song]
Birds brighten our lives. [Continue Black-headed Grosbeak song] We find joy in their songs, inspiration in their soaring flight. They connect us with nature.
But sometimes birds connect us a bit too directly with nature.
[Boink!!]
Park under the wrong tree – one where a flock of starlings or grackles comes to roost – and nature may be painted in white on your car so thickly that it takes a trip or two through the carwash just to see through the windshield again.
[Flock of European Starlings]
Aside from helping you decide where not to park next time, this messy event raises a scientific question: Why is most of the bird poop we see white? The answer lies in the fact that birds, unlike mammals, don’t produce urine. Instead they excrete nitrogenous wastes in the form of uric acid, which emerges as a white paste. And uric acid doesn’t dissolve in water easily. Hence its ability to stick to your windshield like blobs of white plaster.
It appears that drivers of some cars might be asking for trouble. A study in England found that red cars are most likely to be the target of bird droppings, followed by blue and black. Green was the least likely. So be careful where you park. And give that red Mercedes a wide berth.
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
[Black-headed Grosbeak song]
                                        ###
Song of Black-headed Grosbeak [126546] provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, recorded by T.G.Sander.
Flock of European Starlings recorded by Martyn Stewart of naturesound.org
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org   November 2012  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#         poop-02-2012-11-26    poop-02 
Link to birds “targeting” red vehicles: http://www.wtop.com/681/2916790/Even-birds-have-favorite-car-colors----t...

comment 1 Show

Once you showed some photos of mine on the Pine Barrens...have a slide (from which I can never get decent photos) would like to send it to you...I think it's unusual....taken (several years ago) at the Cape May Hawk Banding demonstration.

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