Dear Tom and Ray:
Every morning when I walk out the door to go to work, there is bird poop all over the sides of my car. Always in the same exact spot. Granted, there are telephone/cable/electrical wires hanging over my driveway, connected to my house. And there is a tree nearby. But neither the tree nor the wires hang directly over my car. I know for a fact that the birds like to sit on my side-view mirrors and do their business all over my car. I've washed it off once already a week ago, but now it's getting just downright embarrassing, so it's time for another washing. This didn't happen last spring, so I don't know what's gotten into the birds that would drive them to destroy the appearance of my vehicle. Any suggestions on how to keep the birds away from my precious black 2007 Ford Fusion? Thanks. — Megan
Ray: I think you've got some narcissistic birds, Megan. Maybe they're celebrity birds?
Tom: We helped a woman once who had a similar problem. One particular bird could see his reflection in the car window, so he liked to sit on the mirror and admire himself.
Ray: I guess he particularly liked to admire himself after breakfast, because her car looked a lot like yours does.
Tom: Actually, we don't know if he was admiring himself or hitting on that pretty bird he saw in his reflection.
Ray: In any case, you can eliminate the appeal of your car for these birds in one of two ways. You can cover up the windows so they can no longer see their reflections ...
Tom: Or you can make the "perches" less appealing. That's the way I would go.
Ray: You know the birds are sitting on the side-view mirrors. So cover them with something that makes it hard for them to sit there.
Tom: Like a taser?
Ray: No. Not nice. I would suggest trying something like kids' birthday party hats. You know, the cone-shaped hats with the elastic chin straps? Buy a bag of those, and toss them in the car. When you get home at night, put one on top of each side-view mirror. You even can use the elastic bands to hold them in place. The conical shape should make it hard for the bird to perch there, and I'm guessing they'll find someplace else.
Tom: I like the party hat idea. They're cheap, and easily replaced. So if one gets too soggy after a rainstorm, for instance, you can retire that one and slap on another. Go to iParty.com and stock up, Megan!
Ray: Well, don't get too many, because you might not need to use them for long. Once you interrupt these birds' routines, they may go find another car that they like better and forget about what fun it is to Jackson Pollack your Fusion.
Tom: Or maybe they'll decide to fork over $25 a month and avail themselves of the full-length mirrors at a nearby gym. Good luck, Megan.
(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)