We were walking next to a dry river bed this morning while stepping away on the soft sandy soil….on alert for very fresh Dagga boy dung. It is summer time so the bush was “shining” of all the Golden orb webs, when I noticed a little bird stuck in one of the orb –webs, you could see that the sticky silk had a good hold on the bird because it was really chirping away with “anxiety” calls and just could not fly/break away from the Spider’s trap. On closer inspection we saw it was a Bleating warbler. Miss Orb was sitting way up in the corner and every 3 minutes or so she would make her approach closer and closer to the bird, at one stage I thought that she was moving forward towards this “huge piece of prey” when she suddenly stopped … and then moved out to a safe distance from the bird still struggling for freedom. After a good 15 minutes of fighting and hanging from the web, the web was so ruined that the little bird just fell from the web. You could see that the bird was so exhausted but yet so relieved that it was still alive and flew away after a few seconds.
The golden orb silk is very sticky and very tough, but is “used” more for the capture of smaller flying insects.
Story by: Joe Van Rensburg-Kapama River Lodge Ranger