I posted a while ago about a lightning dragon and one of the answers was really interesting. The answer, in this case, is from Mr Adrian Colomitchi, it was very detailed, but I still had doubts with that vocabulary too sophisticated for me to understand, so to reach a greater number of people I decided to make a series of posts about my doubts.


Initially I was planning a dragon, but then I decided to switch to a bird and Mr Adrian's answer gave me one more reason for this change (it said that sharp things like claws, fangs and spinal tips wouldn't work well for intense electrostatic fields). Then he talked about the skin being made of an insulator to prevent the dragon from suffering damage from the electrical discharge and a part of the insulator being conductive. However, I changed the creature from scaly to feathered, so I ask, how would this apply to a bird?


The bird cannot depend on magic or technology. I intend to make the bird recharge by flying through the charged clouds, if necessary being the target of electrical discharges until it has enough energy to launch a lightning bolt. The thunderbird is not a wild species, so it lives with humans as a mount for them, just as horses do. No need to worry about the rider, I already have in mind a way for the rider not to get hurt while riding the bird. Suggestions for changes to the bird's physiology and the environment in which it lives are welcome. If the bird's dimensions are relevant, I've found an image that pretty much represents the size I plan it to be: enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest that you link to the original question, as this question lacks details that are made reference to. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Oct 28, 2021 at 3:15
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    $\begingroup$ a part of the insulator being conductive? What does that mean? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 28, 2021 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakdown_voltage $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2021 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ At least that's what I understood. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2021 at 3:32
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch to be pedantic, dry water can actually exist (in contrast with an insulating conductor), if we're speaking of oceans of water vapors in a supercritical state under the pressure of hundred kilometers thick atmosphere of, say, helium. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2021 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


Give up on storing charge in your bird without magic, the numbers jost don't work.

maybe instead the bird can deploy a conductive streamer between a charged cloud and the ground causing a preferred path for lightning.

your'e a dirty bird

We see this effect on power lines (bird streamer flashover), so it can presumably work at larger scales too.

OTOH Ben Frankiln survived, maybe his kite string was too clean.


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