Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
Sialis - Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters


Can a bird get electrocuted from an electric fence or from perching on a wire?

QUICK TIPS: Remove vegetation under an electric fence and use an intermittent charger to avoid shocking birds.

by Rose and Trev Clough, WikimediaSomeone asked whether an electric fences poses a threat to bluebirds. I had to do some research. I knew that birds could safely perch with both feet on high-voltage power lines without getting zapped. This is because electricity is always looking for a way to get to the ground. Since the birds are not touching the ground or anything in contact with the ground, electricity stays in the power line, in a closed loop.

I did hear once of an eagle dying after either stretching out its wings or a leg and touching a second wire, which opened a path for the electricity.

If a bird sat on the wood pole (which is buried in the ground) supporting the wires and then touched a wire, it could be shocked.

Apparently it is possible for birds to be killed by an electric fence IF they touch the fence WHILE they are on the ground. The solution is to
trim or kill vegetation underneath the lowest wire AND use an intermittent (versus continuous) charger for the fence.

Discussion here:

May all your blues be birds!
~ Bet Zimmerman Smith

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