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It is known to us that when electricity passes through the
body of an animal or human being, it causes an electric
shock. This is the reason why we are always told to not put
our fingers into electrical outlets, not to use electrical
appliances near water or when our hands are wet. But,
have you ever wondered how birds can freely run along
and even sit for long periods on electrical wires?
Electricity flows by the movement of electrons through conductors. The copper wire in
electrical wires is a great conductor of electricity. Copper allows electricity to flow easily along
its surface. Electricity flows along the path of least resistance. 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.
Another reason why electricity will bypass a bird sitting
on a wire is because there’s no voltage difference
in a single wire. For electrons to move, there must
be what scientists call a difference in electrical potential.
For example, electricity flows from areas of high voltage
to areas of low voltage.There are instances where birds do get electrocuted.
First, when the bird touches the ground while sitting
on the wire or flap its wings and touch another
electric wire with a different voltage. Also, when the
bird perches on the wire and at the same time it is in
contact with the grounded pole. This is because its
body would become a path for the electricity to reach
either the ground (no voltage) or a place with a different voltage (another wire at a different
voltage, for example).
To prevent these things to occur, power lines can be made less dangerous by
widening the gap between the conducting and ground wires, insulating wires and metal parts,
and by moving wires farther away from pole tops.

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