My son and I recently found ourselves romping around the city for a few hours. He edits video promotions and wanted to do some shooting at the Hancock Building. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about going to the ninety-third floor on the fastest elevator in North America (it takes only 40 seconds!). Once we arrived, however, the view was spectacular! It was a beautiful, clear day with excellent visibility.
While waiting for my son, I noticed a spider in the corner of a window … on the outside of the window. I wondered how he got up there. Did he walk? If so, how long would it take a spider to walk from ground level to the 93rd floor? Fascinated, I asked my son to take some pictures.
I found several more of them all around the observation deck. When I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about these spiders, so I did a little research.
A fellow blogger recently stayed on the 15th floor of a hotel across the street from the Hancock building and found the following note on her bed:
We request that you do not open your windows in your suite during this time to avoid the annual migration of High Rise Flying Spiders.
A Chicago Phenomenon …
Lakeshore high-rises, Willis Tower and John Hancock are noticing the annual influx of flying spiders spinning mini-masterpieces as high as 95 stories.
Baby spiders release silk from their spinnerets to create a balloon-like contraption. The spiders then use the balloon to hitch rides on uplifting air currents from the lake. The spider is the Larinioides sclopetaria, an orb-weaving spider that is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. In natural environments, these spiders live on rocks overhanging water. In the city, they have found the next best thing: tall buildings and high-rises. What makes high-rises so appealing is the light shining through the windows.
Thank you for helping us provide you with a comfortable stay.
There are no “rocks overhanging water” in Chicago so they found the “next best thing”. I want to be as adaptable as these little critters. When they find themselves outside their typical environment, they don’t complain, they adapt. Then they use their spinnerets to create little hang gliders that carry them to the most spectacular view in the city, where they construct a beautiful home for themselves.
I want to soar like a spider.
This post was written by KD Sullivan —The wife of the friend she could not live without, and mother of the three most wonderful children in the world, kd sullivan, aka Journey Girl, is in search of overlooked lessons in life. As a home school mom, she is busy teaching, driving and grading. Working on her first YA historical fiction book, she hopes to finish sometime before her 80th birthday … She’s currently 43.
Photo by John Ramirez