Leave it to a bird expert to confirm for us what we already know: There's no shielding our vehicles from the droppings of our feathered friends overhead.
"I park my car under a tree behind my house, and it gets covered with poop," said A. Townsend Peterson, an ornithologist, professor in Kansas University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and curator at KU's Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center. "I don't really see much that anyone can do, other than to park in the open."
But that doesn't mean people aren't trying to prevent their pickups, Priuses and pimped-out Pontiacs from getting pelted with poop.
Some advice, from the experts:
If you're parking in the Mississippi Street parking garage at KU, do yourself a favor and avoid the following spots: 4001, 4002, 4040-4049 and 4150-4158.
That's the word from John Kruzel, whose job responsibilities include cleaning up after the pigeons who roost above those spots, on the garage's fourth level.
"It looks like a Colorado snowstorm," said Kruzel, facility manager for parking garages at KU Parking & Transit. "That's no kidding. It's bad."
While parking in one of those spaces is no guarantee of a bombardment, Kruzel still advises against taking the chance.
KU's other parking garage, north of Allen Fieldhouse, has fewer susceptible spots, although two areas - at the northeast corner of the third level, and at the southwest corner of the bottom level - do take hits from bird bottoms.
The common characteristics of the spaces: All are at the garages' exteriors, where birds can gain easy access and find perches on which to roost, Kruzel said. Warmth from the sun might play a role, too.
Efforts to prevent birds from using the garages as restrooms have failed, at least so far. The latest attempt involved nailing a stretched-out Slinky onto a 2-foot-long board, then placing it atop a popular roost inside the garage on Mississippi Street.
The effort to make the surface uncomfortable for sitting proved ineffective.
"They just push it out of the way," Kruzel said. "They don't care."
The birds' comfort may not last much longer. Kruzel has consulted with an exterminator, and expects a list of recommendations this week that could include applying a special kind of repellent, a caulk-like substance designed to keep pigeons away.
Donna Hultine, director of KU Parking & Transit, would appreciate finding a workable solution.
"We've battled birds a little bit, but it's a delicate balance," she said. "You don't want to kill birds."
While Kruzel uses a flat head shovel to clean up after birds, Bill Stewart is more concerned about your car's finish.
And for that he has but one suggestion when it comes to cleaning bird droppings off a vehicle: Don't wait.
Clean it up. Now.
"Any bird poop is bad on the car, especially if it's left on there for a long time," said Stewart, who opened Auto Plaza Car Wash, 2828 Four Wheel Drive, 16 years ago and now serves as general manager. "It gets down into the clear coat. You can go get it out, but it still looks like it's there - it's etched into the clear coat.
"Once that acid is allowed to sit on that clear coat, it eats into it. If it's left on there for a day - any length of time - it starts eating its way in."
Stewart suggests using a mild soap product, such as those you can buy at an auto store, to clean up the mess. But simply rinsing away the poop with water has proven effective.
"Just get it off the paint," Stewart said.
While you won't need a HazMat suit, health officials suggest using common sense when cleaning bird droppings from your vehicle.
Some words of advice from Charlotte Marthaler, director of policy and planning for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, about the bird situation:
"You can get a bacterium from bird feces - salmonella - and so if you've had any contact with animal feces, you should wash your hands with soap and water," she said. "This is the same kind of bacteria that you can get from any kind of pets - like a pet bird or a reptile or even if you have horses or dogs or cats - so it's really important for people to wash their hands with soap and water."