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Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

How Can Birds Perch on Electric Wires Without Getting Shocked?

How Can Birds Perch on Electric Wires Without Getting Shocked?

Birds don’t get shocked when they sit on electrical wires because they are not good conductors of electricity. Their cells and tissues do not offer electrons an easier route than the copper wire they’re already traveling along. As a result, the electricity bypasses the birds and keeps flowing along the wire instead.

A bird doesn’t receive a shock when it lands on an electric wire because it lands on only one wire. Electricity takes the path of least resistance– it flows through some materials much more easily than others. It is simply easier for the electricity to continue along the metal wire than it is for it to detour through the bird.

If the bird landed on two wires with different voltages, however, the electricity would flow through the bird from the wire with the higher voltage to the wire with the lower voltage, and the bird would be electrocuted.

This is because its body would become a path for the electricity to reach with a different voltage. This is why power lines tend to be high in the air with plenty of space between the wires!

Content for this question contributed by Andy Wiseman, resident of Boardman, Morrow County, Oregon, USA