Bird’s collision with car in Florida leaves ghostly image behind.

Retired teachers Joan and Bud Miller were going 60 miles per hour in their Honda CRV on Interstate 75 when they heard and saw a thud against the glass of the car’s side window, The News-Press reported.

When they investigated further, they saw a near-perfect ghostly white print on the glass in the shape of the bird that hit it. The glass wasn’t shattered or broken, but the print was clear enough to see the bird’s webbed feet and claws, the News-Press reported.

The Millers didn’t know how the print was made, but they called the News-Press to see if anyone could help them figure it out. News-Press photographer and bird expert Andrew West could see that the bird was a tern, which is a sea bird similar to a skimmer or gull.

After an investigation that mystified several local figures who work with birds, reporters were able to find similar reports of ghostly prints after bird collisions to figure out what happened.

Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy told the News-Press the print was formed from white residue called powder down, a substance that helps lubricate birds’ skin and the base of their feathers but also forms a powder when they groom themselves.

The Millers and their friends and neighbors remain fascinated by the ghostly impression and say they hope it sticks around for a while. “We’re not washing the car,” Joan Miller told The News-Press, “and we’re hoping it doesn’t rain.”


  1. Seriously? Haven’t any of you unobservant people ever had a bird collide with a window at home and leave a similar imprint? It’s very common. So the newsworthiness is that a few people were confused?


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