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Why a bird sitting on a live wire is not electrocuted?

A bird sitting on a live electric wire will experience a shock only when electric current passes through its body. The flow of electric current can be compared to that of flow of water. Water flows only from higher level to lower level. In the same way electric current flows from the point at higher voltage to the point at lower voltage.

The current wires stretched on the polls are of two kinds. One is a ‘live wire’ with 230 volts. the other is a neutral wire at zero voltage. These two wires are stretched parallel to each other closely, without touching one another. When a bird alights on a wire, it acquires a voltage of 230 volts. Now by mistake, if the bird touches the other wire (neutral) at zero voltage.

The electric circuit is complete and current passes through its body and will get a ‘shock’! But, if the bird alights only on one of the wires… as the circuit is not complete, it will not experience a shock.
If two birds alight one on a live wire and the other on the neutral wire and if one touches the beak of the other, then electric current passes from higher voltage to the lower voltage i.e. The circuit is completed and both the birds experience the electric shock. Instead, if both the birds alight only on the live wire, side by side without torching the neutral wire, they can sit there for any amount of time without experiencing the shock.

When we touch a live wire, we get a terrible shock because, we are standing on earth at zero voltage and as such the electric circuit is complete, and electric current passes through our body.
Prof: Laxmi… Emani
Published date : 13 Mar 2013 05:45PM

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