Animal FACTS

Top 10 interesting facts about Carrier Pigeons

 Top 10 interesting facts about Carrier Pigeons

Pigeons are one of the most common birds we see/ Everyone has seen a pigeon flying around their homes. Pigeons have lived alongside us for thousands of years. Many might not know that pigeons are domesticated and have been used by the people to carry messages. People select this animal as the carrier of messages because they have the natural homing abilities. It is considered as the effective messenger.Let’s find out other interesting facts about carrier pigeons below;


How Carrier Pigeons Work

You might wonder how pigeons can be domesticated and used a messenger. After all, they’re not like the usual pets we can train. Pigeons have a great navigation skill and can remember their homes. The first thing that you need to do is locating the pigeon inside a cage to reach the intended destination. Then you can attach the messages on the pigeons. The pigeon will come back to its home so that the owner is able to read the messages. Sounds too easy, right?


How fast and reliable are Carrier Pigeons?

It might sound unbelievable but Pigeons can be more fast than your online delivery service, while it takes weeks to ship products to your home, carrier pigeons could do it in a day. Some carrier pigeons were trained to go over 60 miles per hour.

Since, the carrier pigeons have great homing ability, they will never get lost unless it’s really cloudy or foggy. Carrier Pigeons can cover about 994 miles in about two days. Some could travel 24miles in 25 minutes.  Some people still use Carrier Pigeons to train them as a hobby.


The Carrier Pigeons of war

Since carrier pigeon is very useful to send messages, it was used during the military war. It has been used in many parts of the world as a form communication. They were used in World War | and World War ||. Over 54,000 pigeons were drafted into service to be used to deliver important messages. Carrier Pigeons were used to carry letters and sometimes small bottles of medicines to help the troops. They helped save a lot of lives and reduce the risk of messengers getting killed, they were really efficient and stealthy and were able to send messages without anyone knowing or anyone being able to track where the letters came from.



The Usage of Carrier Pigeons in The Past

The usage of carrier pigeons can be traced back since the ancient time.  More than 2000 years ago, the Roman had used the carrier pigeons for their military purpose. We’ve heard songs about Carrier Pigeons in Bollywood movies because they were also used for the messengers by the Mughals.



Carrier Pigeons were used to declare the name of the victors in the Olympics

The names of the victors during the Olympic Games were announced by the Greek people using the carrier pigeons.


The Usage of Carrier Pigeons in 12th Century

The usage of carrier pigeons was spotted in Baghdad in 12th century. Another report about the usage of carrier pigeon was explained by Henry Teonge in the Levant between Iskenderun and Aleppo. Both were the merchants who had a regular pigeon postal service.


Carrier Pigeon in computing

The humorous IP over Avian Carriers (RFC 1149) is an Internet protocol for the transmission of messages via homing pigeon. Originally intended as an April Fools’ Day RFC entry, this protocol was implemented and used, once, to transmit a message in Bergen, Norway, on April 28, 2001.

In September 2009, a South African IT company based in Durban pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a data packed 4 GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country’s biggest internet service provider, Telkom. The pigeon, Winston, took an hour and eight minutes to carry the data 80 km (50 miles). In all, the data transfer took two hours, six minutes, and fifty-seven seconds—the same amount of time it took to transfer 4% of the data over the ADSL



Carrier Pigeons for naval purposes

After the carrier pigeons showed the accuracy to deliver messages, the people began to use them for naval purposes. The pigeons were used to carry messages and delivered messages to the ship. They were really efficient and the only way of transferring messages between ships before the invention of other communication media.


Pigeon-gram Air Mail service

The first organised pigeon airmail service was started in 1896 between New Zealand and the Great Barrier Island. The sinking of the SS Wairarapa off the Great Barrier Island, with the loss of 134 lives, was a catalyst for the service. News of the disaster did not reach New Zealand for 3-days and as a direct result a pigeon-gram service was set up between the two islands.

The first message was carried in January 1896 and took less than 1.75 hours to reach Auckland. Up to 5 messages were carried by each pigeon with the record time for the journey being held by a pigeon called ‘Velocity’ taking only 50 minutes and averaging 125 kmph (only 40% slower than a modern aircraft!).

Special pigeon-gram stamps were issued costing 2/- (10 pence) each with the fee being paid in cash before the pigeon was released.


Famous pigeons

Cher Ami – World War I Hero

During the First World War a pigeon named Cher Ami (dear friend) saved the lives of many French soldiers by carrying a message across enemy lines in the heat of battle. Cher Ami was shot in the chest and the leg, losing most of the leg to which the message was attached, but continued the 25-minute flight avoiding shrapnel and poison gas to get the message. home. Cher Ami was awarded the French ‘Croix de Guerre’ medal for heroic service.

GI Joe – World War II hero

Another heroic pigeon named G.I. Joe saved the lives of a thousand soldiers in World War 2 after British troops had established a position within an Italian town that was due to be bombed by allied planes. Communication equipment was down and the only means of stopping the raid was to attach a hastily written message to G.I. Joe and send him to the allied HQ. G.I. Joe flew 20 miles in 20 minutes arriving at the air base whilst the planes were taxiing on the runway. Disaster was averted with 5 minutes to spare. G.I. Joe received the ‘Dickin’ medal for his bravery.

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