Connect the Dots! Avian Edition.

Kieran Lindsey

Kieran Lindsey | Aug 20, 2014

It’s a steamy summer day but you spy a shady spot in which to stow your trusty horseless carriage as you pull into the strip mall lot or a residential side street just off the main business drag. Hallelujah—the parking gods have smiled upon you.

Striding inside, you’re king (or queen) of the world! The peons will have to face the harsh reality of scorched legs and searing sweaty palms when it’s time to leave, but not you. Life is good.

You return—an hour later or next morning—to a vehicle transformed by a temporary polka-dot paint job, deposed from your high horse.

How quickly the mighty fall.

No, the parking gods did not smite thee, but it is time for brief lesson in avian behavior.

During the breeding season, many songbirds pair up, start a family, and become home (territory) bodies. But grackles, starlings and a few other common urban species never abandon their social network. They hang out together during the day and all through the night, chatting and processing the day’s… events, preferably in the shady comfort of a large, leafy tree. (Car Talk Editorial Aside: Want to find out what hit you? A Guide to Windshield Poop Analysis will tell you exactly which species of Aves you can thank for your new "paint job.")

The kind of tree that shades parking spaces you’ll patiently wait an eternity for another driver to abandon, all to avoid the hot-seat when you return to the car five minutes later with 40 ounces of ice cold sugar water and a lottery ticket sure to make you richer than King Midas.

Do yourself a favor. Invest in a good sun screen and leave the shady spot for some poor, naïve schmuck to nab. Think of it as noblesse oblige if you want to feel royal. When you get back to the car, put a towel on your throne and crank up the AC. You’ll save your finish and score some parking karma in the process.

Plotting their next attack. (Flickr/Anthony Vicente)

Got another wildlife problem? Check out our guide to wildlife and your car, right here.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One