Bird on a wire

This report reminds me of one of the major scene flaws in Jurassic Park, namely the scene where the kid is on the electric fence when it is energized. Obviously, as long as he is on the fence he is perfectly safe, and can get off the fence simply by jumping so that he doesn’t touch the fence and the ground at the same time.

Oh, well.

Please provide a link to the column or staff report under discussion when you open a new topic; helps to keep us all on the same page.

Why don’t birds on wires get electrocuted?

That’s provided that all of the wires in the fence are at the same potential, which is not necessarily the case. Considering that the fences were designed to contain jumping dinosaurs, a more logical arrangement would be to have the wires alternating hot and ground, or high positive voltage and high negative voltage.

Actually, the husband is still wrong.

Consider the case where the bird is grounded. It still presents a higher resistance than the wire, but gets electrocuted nonetheless. Why?

Because there is still plenty of current in a higher resistance leg (no pun intended); when the wire carries 100,000 Volts, and a few hundred Amps, even if your resistance is 1000 times higher than the wire and the downstream load, the piddly 100 mA is enough to stop your heart.