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The Kid Should See This

What semi-secret spider trick can help us save birds?

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On homes, skyscrapers, and everything in between, large glass windows can confuse birds and cause collisions. In New York City’s five boroughs alone, The New York City Audubon estimates that as many as 90,000 to 230,000 birds die each year after colliding with buildings. That number climbs to an estimated 350 million birds when tallying across the United States.

How can we stop this from happening? Orb weaver spiders, including common garden spiders, seem to have a solution.

UV light
This BBC World Service animation from the 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter podcast, hosted by biologist Patrick Aryee, shares a semi-secret trick to their web-weaving ways. Some orb weaver spiders lace their webs with UV-reflective threads called stabilimenta.

Humans can’t see the effect, but birds can. So why not add this feature to large windows?

birds flying over a city
testing the glass

PODCAST ALERT: Learn more about how this innovative solution in glass could potentially save millions of birds every year with 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Learn more about bird-friendly building design at

Then watch more incredible biomimicry stories on TKSST:
Think Like a Tree: Problem solving with nature’s best ideas
Mimicking shark skin to combat superbugs
• The Sticky Feet of Ants & Cockroaches
• How a kingfisher, an owl, & a penguin helped redesign Japan’s Shinkansen

Bonus web video: The incredibly strong (and massive) web of the Darwin’s bark spider.

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