How Can Birds Sit On Power Lines Without Getting Electrocuted?

An intriguing question, my friend! How can these flying, little beings chill out on a live, electric wire and still live to tell the tale? Shouldn’t they become fried instantly? As always, there is a little bit of science behind it, and surprisingly… it has something to do with electricity…

When a bird lands on a power line its body acquires the same amount of voltage (or electricity if you prefer that) as the electric wire he’s resting on. Fair enough, but you might think that’s game over for the bird. Of course it isn’t.

How do they do it?

How do they do it?

To be able to call himself officially fried he has to complete the electric circuit. If he were to stretch his wings and accidentally touch something of a different voltage, like another wire for instance (or any other grounded object), he could then call it a day. Because the electric circuit would then be complete.

The power would go through the bird and on to the other wire roasting him alive. But when he sits still on the power line the voltage has nowhere to go. It simply ignores the bird.

So he and his bird friends can live happily ever after, as long as they don’t screw it up by being too clumsy.

7 thoughts on “How Can Birds Sit On Power Lines Without Getting Electrocuted?

    • Hi there, Nicolas! I’m glad you dropped by my blog :)
      Thanks for the kind words. I do aim at making science easy, and it’s great to receive feedback that I’m closing in on my goal.

      Hope to see you here again soon! ;)

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    • Thank you! :) It’s actually a free WordPress theme named Noteworthy. I haven’t personalized it too much. Anyway, it’s nice to hear that the theme fits the website :)

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