When a bird sits on a electric wire it does not get a electric shock at all but when we humans just touch the wire we get a serious electric shock. Why?

When a bird sits on an electric wire it does not get an electric shock at all but when we humans just touch the wire we get a serious electric shock because-

Electricity is the flow of tiny particles called electrons. These electrons need something to move through, which we have known as 'conductor'. Conductors are of two types, good and bad. Good conductors are something that allows electrons to flow or pass easily through them, whereas bad conductors don't allow electrons to pass through them so easily.

Electrical wires are generally made of aluminium or copper which are good conductors, because of which electrons move easily through it. So, while the bird sitting on a wire high up in the air, the electrons choose to keep their path through the copper wires because flowing through the copper wire is easier in comparison to flow through the bird, which is not such a good conductor. So, the birds remain quite safe.

Also, electrons always like to flow from higher potential or voltage (positive terminal) to lower potential or voltage (negative terminal). Voltage is just an electrical pressure, so electrons like to move from a place where the electrical pressure is high to a place where it is low.

Now, while the bird sitting on the wire, it has no potential difference or voltage as both the legs of the bird are touching the same wire at the same constant potential. They won't get shocked even when their tail touches the other wire, because their feather is the bad conductor of electricity. But, if the bird will touch another wire of different resistance or voltage at the same time, then the electrons start flowing from the wire of the highest voltage to the wire of the lowest voltage, allowing the electricity to travel through the bird’s body. Then the bird gets a shock.

On the other hand, humans get a serious electric shock by touching electrical currents as the person is typically also touching the ground.

The ground has a low potential or no voltage and the wires have a high potential, so when a person touches the wire while touching the ground it creates a bridge that allows the electricity to moves to the lower potential object, electrocuting the person along the way.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 10-Oct-2022


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