I know that when a bird is sitting on a high-voltage power line, virtually no current flows through the bird because there is (almost) no voltage drop between its legs, the two points are equipotential (as discussed here: How much of current flows through a bird sitting on a power line?)

I wonder what happens though,in the exact moment when the bird lands on the line, as there is a potential difference initially, so for a short time there is a current flowing. I think electricians working on high power lines (e.g. descending from a helicopter) wear a Faraday suit to prevent this sudden charging up from causing harm.

Does this affect birds landing on high-voltage lines?

  • $\begingroup$ The electricians wear the Faraday suit in case of a discharge (like lightning). $\endgroup$ – LDC3 May 16 '15 at 16:30

The potential difference between the two points on the wire is negligible at all times but initially there's a potential difference between the wire and the bird and there would be a (very short lived) transient current which is similar to electrostatic discharge you feel when you touch an object with electrostatic charge build-up.

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    $\begingroup$ Side node: These everyday electrostatic discharges typically have voltages in the tens of kilovolts (but do no damage as the involved capacitances are minute, at least they don't do damage to humans, it's different for electronic components). $\endgroup$ – Sebastian Riese May 16 '15 at 20:52

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