Spider Silk – Duct Tape for Bird Nests



Spider Silk and Bird Nests

Written by Bob Sundstrom

That is BirdNote.

A spider’s net is an intricate piece of precision engineering. And the spider silk it’s constructed with is superb. Constituted of giant proteins, it’s sticky, stretchy, and hard. So it’s no shock that many small birds make a degree of accumulating strands of spider silk to make use of in nest development – birds like hummingbirds, kinglets, gnatcatchers, and a few vireos.

[Golden-crowned Kinglet song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/197096, 0.15-.19]  

Golden-crowned Kinglets, among the many smallest of songbirds, construct a tiny, sq. nest. They usually use strands of spider silk to droop the construction from adjoining twigs, like a tiny hammock.  

[Ruby-throated Hummingbird squeaks, wing hum, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176299, 0.13-.16]  

When a feminine Ruby-throated Hummingbird is constructing her nest, she collects the spider silk she wants by sticking it throughout her beak and breast. When she reaches the nest website, she’ll press and stretch the silk onto the opposite supplies – reminiscent of lichen and moss – creating a troublesome, tiny cup. Spider silk not solely acts as a glue, holding the opposite bits collectively, however it’s versatile sufficient to accommodate the rising our bodies of nestlings.

 [Ruby-throated Hummingbird squeaks, wing hum, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176299, 0.13-.16]

The place we would attain for duct tape, these birds flip to spider silk.

For BirdNote I’m Michael Stein.

Bird sounds supplied by The Macaulay Library on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Golden-crowned Kinglet [197096] recorded by Bob McGuire; Ruby-throated Hummingbird [176299] recorded by G A Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and performed by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Government Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org   April 2016 / 2020 / June 2022   Narrator: Michael Stein
ID#  nest-07-2016-04-08                   nest-07


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