Are they getting shocked while they sit there? They must not be, right? After all, you don’t hear any screeches or see puffs of smoke and feathers. There’s no smell of roasted bird in the air. So what’s the deal? How can birds sit on electrical wires and not get shocked?
“Electrical current is the movement of electrons,” explains Sun. The movement of electrons through a device like your TV is what gives it the energy to display images and produce sound. Sun describes the long process these moving electrons take to get to your house. “The electrons are essentially being pulled from the ground by the power station,” she says. “They move through the power lines, through your TV, and eventually they make their way back into the ground from where they came.” This creates a closed loop, which is required for electricity to flow.
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.