Spiders Play an Important Role in the Lives of Hummingbirds
Now I don't suffer from full blown arachnophobia, but I've never been particularly fond of spiders. I mean as long as they keep their distance and stay out of the house I don't mind them but I don't want one crawling near me and I hate finding them in the house.
In the right context, you know... outside, in nature, I think spiders are wonderful little creatures that do good things by eating up the mosquitos and other pesky insects we find in the yard or around the house. I've even seen some spiders that are downright pretty to look at.
I think one of the most interesting things about spiders are their silks and the webs that they spin with them. There are so many types of webs too like the spiral orb web - that's the one we most often visualize when we think of a spider web. There's also the tangle web, sheet web and one I think is especially cool - the funnel web. That last one is used by hobo spiders to capture their prey.
But did you know that spider webs play a big role ecologically for more than just the spider that spun it? I didn't either until I stumbled across a Facebook post from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It turns out, hummingbirds use spider webs when they build their nests. Apparently, it is really useful because not only is it a material with strong tinsel strength relative to it's size but it allows the hummingbird nest the flexibility to expand. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources explains,
Spider silk is extremely strong, flexible and sticky. Therefore, it allows hummingbird nests to expand without breaking. This is essential because it prevents the fast growing young hummingbirds from falling out of their nest.
Who knew?! I certainly didn't but I'm excited to be able to add this little nugget of knowledge to my memory cache. I have a new found respect for spiders and the ingenuity of hummingbirds!
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