I’m known by my family, friends and neighbors for being fastidious about keeping my vehicles well maintained and showroom clean. I can see my neighbors rolling their eyes when I’m outside on a 42 degree morning, washing my cars or pickup. I even wash off the inside of my wheel wells and scrub dirt off the visible sections of my exhaust pipes. I know — it’s on the edge of obsessive compulsive behavior
But I did get some reinforcement for my habit last year when my cardiologist confirmed that washing cars was a good cardiovascular activity to help me recover from my heart surgery. I felt renewed justification for my aberrant behavior.
My 2012 GMC Sierra pickup is a bit too long to fit into my garage and besides I already have it filled with my vintage 1975 BMW 2002 and my wife’s vehicle. So the pickup sits outside and gets washed even more frequently than my other cars.
Lately, I’ve been parking it under some branches of a Russian olive tree at the side of my house so it gets a little protection from the damaging UV rays in our high desert environment. But in addition to being a good spot for the pickup, it’s also a great spot for nesting white winged doves, who locals like to refer to as the “rats of the sky.”
And like rats, they poop everywhere — including on the hood of my pickup. GRRRR.
Several years ago, enraged by the amount of bird poop on my outdoor picnic table, I bought one of those plastic owls that are supposed to scare away birds and other critters. Mine is now so old that its formerly scary giant yellow eyes now have cataracts. But in some parts of the yard it has worked pretty well.
So when an unexpectedly large amount of bird pickup pooping started a couple of weeks ago, I thought maybe it was time to move the owl from “guarding” my outdoor picnic table to a spot near my truck. The first place I located it was near our trash bins, but it didn’t seem to work very well, judging by the volume of “stuff” left behind. I moved it to the base of the tree and suddenly, no more dove dung.
Then the collection of crap came back with a vengance. So this time, I thought I would place the own directly on top of my hood, just inches away from where I figured this one outlaw dove was spending the night.
The next morning I found this:
My plastic owl might have literally scared the s*** out of the dove, or it just didn’t give a s*** about its presence — I’m sure of the latter. At any rate, the pooping continues.
My brother once told me that when he lived in Philadelphia, pigeon poop at city hall had become a huge problem, mostly for defiling the statue of William Penn which graced the dome of the dignified historic structure. Various methods were tried to eradicate or relocate the pigeons. One involved feeding the birds seed that had been infused with tranquilizers. That didn’t work out well for the people walking near city hall when a drunken pigeon would suddenly fall out of the sky on their head or splat on the sidewalk in front of them. The next method — and my brother swore this was true — was to record the yowls of a cat being hung upside down in a cage and then blasting its shrieks on loudspeakers at full volume around city hall at various times during the day. The problem with this was that the usual rhythm of downtown streets would be stunningly interrupted with the cringe inducing yowl of a tortured cat, followed by an immense fluttering of pigeons which would then defecate on everything and anyone as they fluttered to safety.
I’m not sure my neighbors — already probably annoyed by my frequent car washing regimen — would go for that. The alternatives, I suppose, are daily washes for my truck, cutting down the tree, building a third bay on my garage or tethering a real owl to the tree. None of these seem to be practical, so I’ll await your suggestions.
In the meantime s*** happens.