thank you and i agree whole-heartedly about the power lines. this is the third bird i've found under the lines...a Great Blue Heron and a Grebe ( http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1056295/ ). i can't even imagine how many thousands must die each year.
I have heard that touching on one line won't electrocute someone - that you have to touch two lines. A birds wingspan might do this. However, if you are getting a lot of birds under one particular part of the lines, I would call the power company. It sounds like a short or something that they ought to deal with anyway.
no, it's not a short. these lines are very high and all three birds had broken wings. they actually hit the line. i think you can see the contact point in my first picture. these wouldn't be the kind of birds who sit on the lines like doves, etc. the birds who do sit on them aren't harmed in any way.
Yep, it's the collision, not the electricity, that kills them. If they hit a twig on a tree, the twig is flexible enough that the bird woudn't be harmed, but a taught wire is another matter altogether. Conversely, a twig thick enough to be rigid would be more easily visible, and be avoided.