Let me tell the story first, and then I’ll explain my math/physics question.
I was driving my Volkswagen Jetta at 65 miles per hour Friday afternoon. It was warmer out than normal and I decided to open my sunroof while blaring Nickelback. It felt good to feel the wind in my hair and music pumping. Sudddenly, I felt something tap me on my right shoulder. I looked down and saw a fresh plop of bird poop. I looked up and there was a flock of European Starlings flying about 50 yards above me in the total opposite direction. I looked online and found the average airspeed of a European Starling is allegedly 11 meters per second (which seems pretty fast to me, but what do I know?). Damn bird.
Anyway, I find this situation curious. There were no other bird droppings on the roof of my car. The one bird deposit that was dropped in my direction came threw the 12in X 30in rectangular sun roof hole and hit me in the shoulder. The odds of that seem incredible. I really would like to know the actual odds of this happending considering all the variables listed in my story. Can anyone help? I think this would make a very interesting outdoors column for the newspaper I work at.
I'd offer some toilet paper, but the bird is probably long gone...
I'm not one of those math-doing types of people but maybe someone can run the numbers. Good that it didn't get the rest of your car at least since it can damage the paint. Perhaps starlings don't like people who drive VWs, and it does seem like birds aim their feces as surely as monkeys fling it. I had a similar run in with a flock of Canadian geese. Suddenly it was like I had just driven thru someone's wayward sprinkler, but there was no sprinkler and it smelled. A standard drive-thru car wash didn't remove it, either.
Sorry you got pooped on bro. With the speeds/trajectories involved, it's pretty darn slim odds. At least it wasn't a pelican, those birds can do some NASTY damage.
Another factor to consider is suction. Having an opening in an otherwise streamlined car can cause some pretty bizzare vacumn effects. I had a truck with an extended cab and split rear window, with the back window open and door windows closed, it would suck in anything from the back and fling it five feet horizontally to the inside of the windshield. So it's possible the bird that 'killed the death star' only got it in the general vicinity and the car is responsible for where it ended up.
Again, either way, that's one of those shake your head moments.
Every single second, things happen beyond all odds. Toss a deck of cards up in the air and when they land, mark an outline around every card and mark whether they land face up or face down. Now pack the cards up and try to repeat it. It would likely never happen again, yet it happened one time. THAT'S how you explain that bird crapping on you and that could very well be how you explain our existence.
josebach wrote:Every single second, things happen beyond all odds. Toss a deck of cards up in the air and when they land, mark an outline around every card and mark whether they land face up or face down. Now pack the cards up and try to repeat it. It would likely never happen again, yet it happened one time. THAT'S how you explain that bird crapping on you and that could very well be how you explain our existence.
Warpigs wrote:I decided to open my sunroof while blaring Nickelback.
Sorry you lost me there
Seriously though... the odds are low, but it wouldnt really be possible to calculate them knowing just what you know. You'd have to know how many birds, how many were crapping, etc... I'll say they are low, but lots of things that happen every day have very low odds. It just so happens that this particular instance is more noticeable because it ends with you being crapped on the shoulder.