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Why Can Birds Sit Safely on Power Lines?

SCE explains how feathered friends can perch comfortably without shocking consequences.

Have you ever looked up at a power line filled with perched birds and asked yourself how they can do that and not get electrocuted? We all know power lines are dangerous when touched, so how can birds sit there looking perfectly safe and content? The answer might not be what you expect.

Birds sitting on a wire don’t touch the ground (or anything in contact with the ground), so electricity stays in the power line. But, if a bird touches a power line and equipment or other metal that is grounded, it gives electricity a path to the ground, and the bird could be shocked.

Additionally, if a bird were to touch two wires at once, it would create a circuit. Meaning electricity would flow through the bird and likely electrocute it.

Southern California Edison's Avian Protection Program makes power lines safer for birds by providing greater spacing of wires or protective covers on distribution poles to prevent birds with wide wingspans from accidental electrocution.

Source:
Power Line Safety: It's for the Birds