"I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."
Many airports around the world have a problem with birds interfering with takeoffs and landings. In 1985 birds caused over half a million dollars worth of damage to airplanes as they collided with the moving planes. But Japan's All Nippon Airways came up with a way to keep birds away from its planes.
All Nippon Airways did this by giving the birds a message: "Our airplanes taste bad." You see, many insects that taste bad to birds have a large spot on them, called an eyespot. When birds see an insect with an eyespot, they avoid it because they know it tastes bad.
Balloons with eyespots painted on them have been successfully used in Japan as scarecrows to keep birds out of crops. Flags with eyespots have been used to keep birds off buildings. So All Nippon Airways painted eyespots on the rotating fans of their jet engines. The spots are painted just a little off center so that as the fan spins, it looks like a very angry eyespot. As a result, birds have been avoiding All Nippon Airways planes. In the year after the eyespots were introduced, only one bird struck a plane.
In our modern age of high technology, it seems strange that we would learn how to solve some of our technological problems from nature. But it really shouldn't seem strange. After all, the Creator who is responsible for the creation knows far more than even the best scientist!
Notes: Boxer, Sarah, ed. 1987. "These eyes high in the Japanese sky are strictly for the birds." Discover, January. p. 8.
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