How can birds land on power lines and not get electrocuted?
Good question. There are actually two lines in a power line:
the high voltage line and the "ground" line. Electricity
jumps from the power line to the "ground" line or directly
to the ground when there is a path for it to do so. For
example, when a kite lands on the high voltage line, a path
to ground is made along the kite's string. This is why
it is dangerous to fly kites near power lines.
However, when a bird lands on a power line, even if it is
the high voltage line, it does not provide a path between
the power line to ground. Therefore, the bird is not
bothered by the high voltage.
Click here to return to the General Topics Archives
Update: June 2012