Hang on, swoopy

Suzette wonders if white cars are especially likely to draw unwelcome attention from our fine feathered friends:

Do birds have some kind of fatal attraction that compels them to fling themselves at their own peril towards white cars? Does this happen with all white cars? Does it happen to you?

I’ve encountered only two suicidal avians in the past six and a half years of driving a vanillamobile, and one of them was a pigeon, perhaps more likely to be deranged than despondent.

What birds do fling at this car, however, is usually vaguely whitish, though obviously no attempt is made at color-matching.



  1. Jeffro »

    23 February 2013 · 10:14 pm

    All my years of driving rural gravel roads leads me to believe it’s more a function of speed and surprising the birds rather than the color of the vehicle. You show up traveling at a good clip, surprise them, and they panic. Doesn’t matter – songbirds, pheasants, chickens, hawks, whatever. Although hawks and owls seem to pay more attention. Going slower gives them more time.

  2. fillyjonk »

    24 February 2013 · 2:35 pm

    My only experience with things being attracted to white cars is that when I’d go out and park my old minivan at a fieldsite, when I’d come back it would be surrounded by flies. One of my students said, “They think it’s a big old white cow!”

    I haven’t noticed the same with my current red car. I’m actually wondering if there was some kind of UV reflectant in the white paint of my old car that triggered the UV vision in the bugs.

  3. Tatyana »

    24 February 2013 · 3:09 pm

    I wonder if a car is covered in dirt to resemble a Little Black Rain Cloud has similar or opposite effect…

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