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Name: Aaron
Status: student
Age: 7
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001

Why don't birds get shocked when they sit on telephone wires? I don't understand electrical current and the way it works.

When a bird sits on a single wire there is no ground to complete a circuit, so the bird does not get shocked.

J. Elliott

They don't get shocked for the same reason you don't get shocked when you touch a lamp cord: because the wires are insulated with a material that doesn't conduct electricity.

Tim Mooney

The difference in electric potential between the bird's two fee is so small that very little, if any, current is able to flow.

To use a water example, the pressure of the water increases with depth. You may have noticed that at the bottom of the pool you feel more pressure than at the top. But the difference in pressure over, say, a millimeter is so small, that it would not pose any problem as compared to a depth difference of 200 meters. Similarly, there is such a small difference in the potential between the bird's feet, that it is insignificant.

---Nathan Unterman

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