Birds, Spider Webs, and Biomimetics

Imagine a spider that spent an hour building a web (usually at night), then seeing a clumsy bird blast on through it, ruining the work. Well, back to the drawing board. Except that it doesn't happen all that often. Why not?


Humans are imitating a certain property in spider webs that helps keep birds from crashing through them.
FreeImages.com / Aleš Čerin
The special property that the spider puts into the web so that the bird can see it is being imitated (biomimetics) in special bird-safe glass, and considered for other applications. God gave critters special abilities, and he gave us intelligently-designed minds to observe and implement characteristics of his creation. Ironically, many people who are intelligently designing items based on what they see in nature believe that those creatures evolved by time, chance, mutations and random processes. Makes perfect sense. No, not really.
Have you ever heard the thump of a confused bird hitting a window? Countless birds are killed each year when they fly directly into window glass. Sometimes they can’t see the glass panes that are nearly invisible to them, or they get confused by reflections of nearby trees, sky, or the birds themselves. To address this problem, researchers have turned to an unusual corner of nature: spider webs.

Spiders, such as the orb weaver—whose spoke-wheel webs appear frequently in yards and woods—construct their webs with a silk that reflects ultraviolet light. Our eyes can’t see ultraviolet light, but many insects and birds do. The UV-reflecting property of spider silk appears to serve two purposes.
To finish reading, spin on over to "Bird-Saving Spider Webs".

  

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