September 25, 2006

true query

what makes birds electrocution proof?

Posted by shoe at September 25, 2006 04:40 PM | TrackBack

They haven't connected to a ground to complete a circuit. You would actually be surprised how many birds get electrocuted from old poorly insulated power lines. Apparently this is a real big deal in the midwest and rockies right now, with a bunch of golden eagles getting killed.

Of course, this could just be a hypothetical question. If so, you shouldn't ask a hypothetical question on a blog because you know some dumbass geek is going to have an answer.

Posted by: Richard at September 25, 2006 05:06 PM

Okay, Richard has the real answer.

I guess the "fact" that they have rubber feet doesn't apply now...

Posted by: That 1 Guy at September 25, 2006 06:10 PM

A covenant with Lucifer to spy on mankind and report where we could be tempted.

Posted by: RSM at September 25, 2006 08:13 PM

Richard is correct. It also explains why there are no birds with enormous dicks.

Posted by: Elisson at September 25, 2006 08:17 PM

Uhhh... Rubber souls??? ; )

Posted by: Richmond at September 25, 2006 08:32 PM

I was thinking maybe they were wearing rubber shoes?

Posted by: oddybobo at September 26, 2006 09:45 AM

Richard's right about birds' not usually being harmed by power lines because they're ungrounded, but he misleads slightly with his comment about "poorly insulated power lines". Overhead lines are not merely poorly insulated, they're bare aluminum (or less frequently bare copper). Despite the fact that distribution lines are energied at anywhere from 4 the 35 kilovolts, they aren't a threat to a bird unless the bird somehow inserts himself into the flow of electrons. A power line is so much more conductive than the bird's body that, as the bird perches on the line, there's virtually no current flow up one leg and down the other.

Squirrels now are a different matter entirely. They don't fly onto the power line like a bird. When a squirrel steps onto a conductor, he makes contact with both the pole (or cross-arm) and the conductor. If the wood is very dry, no harm. But if the pole is wet from dew or rain, or the squirrel is touching the solid copper grounding wire that runs up it, then it's blinking lights and barbeque. More often squirrels do themselves in on transformers rather than on the lines, especially in the winter, since the top of the transformer is warm and flat and makes a very nice nesting place -- nice right up to the point when the critter inadvertantly touches two objects that are at different voltages (e.g., the two wires that are tied to the ceramic bushings that stick out the top of the transformer).

The power industry spends sugnificant money on "wildlife protection" each year. I hasten to point out (before you accuse the power company of being a bunch of tree-hugging enviro-nazis) that this "protection" is intended to protect the power grid from critters, not the other way around.

Thanks for letting me share -- I needed a shoulder.

Posted by: Bob at September 26, 2006 11:52 AM

ok, let's let richard keep to his own little testosterone world, and let the science teacher tell you- electrons move really slowly (they actually vibrate side to side and it's the energy that's moving through them, but I digress). The heart beat of most birds is exactly twice that of the vibrational pattern of the electron, so the birds are actually letting go of the wire and hovering just above it every other heart beat. That's why they're so still- they are listening to their heart. Ever hear a dove or pigeon coo on one of those wires? That's because some of the stray electrical energy builds up inside their cloaca and they have little birdgasms.
Who are you going to believe, some guy, or a science teacher?

Posted by: holder at September 28, 2006 06:46 PM