Why birds like to sit on power lines
Birds love to perch on power lines
Birds sitting on power lines are one of the mundane everyday scenes often taken for granted, yet one that brings endless fascination. When I see rows of birds on power lines, I often stare in wonderment. Why do birds like to perch on power lines? Why don't birds get shocked? Or do they? Why do they sit spaced evenly in a row? Why do they face the same direction?
Birds like to congregate on power lines
Perching and flock behavior
Power lines are common and convenient rest stops for birds in cities and towns where there are very few trees. High-tension wires make great lookout perches for passerine birds or the common perching birds, like sparrows, starlings, crows, grackles, to name a few. The feet of perching birds or songbirds are adapted to grabbing onto branches and power lines. Not all birds have this special adaptation.
Birds are social animals and like to interact with each other as they roost on power lines. Being up high gives the birds a good vantage point to see the surroundings and be on the lookout for predators and food sources.
This looks like a sold-out concert. When most of the seats are taken, birds will try to accommodate each other in a shorter power line.
Who called this high-voltage meeting?
Birds can be seen at dusk or sunrise perched on overhead power lines. Every time a bird lands on the wire, the entire row of birds on the same wire would move over for the newcomer. Birds are instinctively such considerate and accommodating little creatures.
This high-voltage convention appears to be an enormous flock of birds in the midst of migration, taking a short rest on power lines before heading on to their destination.These are nocturnal migrants because they are birds that migrate at night.
Birds on wire can be loads of fun and add a flair to any room
Watch as hundreds of birds gather on power lines - Shades of Hitchcock's "The Birds"
Why do birds like to perch?
(hirundo Rustica) Perched on a Wire
18"W x 12"H
Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys
Starlings on powerlines
Resting on power line from Ardea Wildlife Pets
The feet of birds are adapted for perching
Feet has locking mechanism
The average bird foot has four independent flexible toes and typically the first big toe (the hallux) is turned backward, while the other three toes fanned forward. This condition is called anisodactyl. Most song birds and perching birds, like sparrows, thrushes, wrens, warblers and others are anisodactyl. When perching birds sit, a tendon on the backside of the ankle automatically flexes locking their toes around the branch. With feet locked, sleeping birds don't fall. As the bird stands up and straightens its legs, the tendon releases its lock. This adaptation also enable birds to perch on power lines
Gridlock of birds - High wire acrobats
These bird formations on intersecting powerlines almost seemed staged and choreographed. Who would ever think that these little creatures would roost at every angle. Being bird-brained is not necessarily a bad thing. Birds are smarter than most people think.
A show of bird power - Birds at every angle on pylons
Birds rest along the cross arms of an electrical transmission tower, colloquially termed an electricity pylon in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. This is a slanted look at birds at different angles. It is no wonder birds are an endless source of fascination of photographers and birdwatchers.
Why do birds sit evenly spaced on power lines?
Why do they face the same direction?
One theory is that birds space themselves evenly along power lines so that there is enough room to land and take off from the wire. This mandates a certain distance for the wings to spread during take-off. But again, the bird can jump and then spread its wings. The other theory is that keeping a certain distance from each other avoid aggression and conflict.
Birds that sit on power lines almost always face the direction of oncoming wind. Birds have an easier time taking off and landing facing the wind.
This row of starlings on a power line appear to be gossiping about the day's events.
Pigeons are medium-sized birds compared to smaller birds like wrens or ketrels and will instinctively leave more space between themselves.
Three's company. These three birds are leaving zero space between themselves to keep warm on the power line. It must have been a momentary stopover to where they were headed in the winter.
Canvas Print of STARLINGS
Flock sitting on building crane at dusk from Ardea Wildlife Pets
Why don't birds get shocked sitting on power lines?
Simple illustration of the nature of electricity - When does electrical shock occur?
Why perching birds do not get electrocuted - And others birds do
Joan Baker Designs TR217 19-1/2 by 10-1/2 by 3-Inch Birds on a Wire Art Glass Tray
Take this quick poll.
Do you ever take notice of large flocks of birds on power lines?
Large birds are at risk for electrocution
Due to wide wingspan and collisions
Thousands of raptors (birds of prey) are killed every year due to power lines, particularly in the western U.S. In wide-open plains and deserts, power poles are often the only high perches available for hunters like Bald and Golden eagles and Great Horned owls, who survey the landscape for prey and take off into rising wind currents. Electrocution occurs when their wings brush against a two live wires when settling on top of a grounded pole.
The California condor is the largest flying bird in North America with a wingspan of 9 feet which soar in deserts and open-wide areas of the Western United States. Its population has dwindled due to loss of habitat, poaching, slow rate of reproduction and collisions with power poles. This is a one-year old condor that fell victim to electrocution.
Dove gets electrocuted on powerwire
Global Measures to Prevent Power Line collisions
- Bird deaths: Hundreds of birds may have hit power line in Louisiana | Mail Online
Mystery has surrounded the deaths of thousands of birds within days of each other across America, with scientists blaming New Year's Eve fireworks, thunderstorms, parasites and even poison.
- How do you get electrical shocks?
How electrical shocks happen.
- Diverters should prevent birds from hitting power lines | Minnesota Public Radio News
Duluth-based Minnesota Power is installing diverters on power lines to guide migrating birds away from the lines.
- Agreement secures safer power lines for Hungary's Birds
The Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society (BirdLife Partner in Hungary) have signed an agreement which promises to make power lines more bird-friendly.
- Why do birds collide with power lines?
Birds often run into objects that seem obvious to humans, like poles or wind turbines. In France, it's estimated that 25 percent of young storks die from running into power lines. Why does this happen, and what is the solution?
- Electrocution of birds and collision with power lines: Solutions to a global problem
Electrocution on power lines is a major threat to many bird species across the world, in particular endangered species such birds of prey, which show the greatest incidence of electrocution. A new study focuses on preventing bird electrocution throug
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Birds on power lines turn musical
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