Carrier pigeon
Overview
A carrier pigeon is a homing pigeon
Homing pigeon
The homing pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeon derived from the Rock Pigeon selectively bred to find its way home over extremely long distances. The wild rock pigeon has an innate homing ability, meaning that it will generally return to its own nest and its own mate...

 (specifically a domesticated rock pigeon
Rock Pigeon
The Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon, is a member of the bird family Columbidae . In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon"....

, Columba livia) that is used to carry messages. Using pigeons to carry messages is generally called "pigeon post
Pigeon post
Pigeon post is the use of homing pigeons to carry messages. Pigeons were effective as messengers due to their natural homing abilities. The pigeons were transported to a destination in cages, where they would be attached with messages, then naturally the pigeon would fly back to its home where the...

". Most homing or racing type varieties are used to carry messages. There is no specific breed
Breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

 actually called "carrier pigeon". Carrier pigeons that are the basic Racing Homer
Racing Homer
A Racing Homer is a breed of pigeon that has been selectively bred for more speed, and enhanced homing instinct for the sport of Pigeon racing. A popular domestic pigeon breed, the Racing Homer is also one of the newest.-Development:...

 were used to carry messages in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Thirty-two pigeons were presented with the Dickin Medal
Dickin Medal
The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war. It is a bronze medallion, bearing the words "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath, carried on a ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue...

.

Carrier pigeons should not be confused with English Carrier
English Carrier
The English Carrier is a breed of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. English Carriers, along with other varieties of domesticated pigeons, are all descendants of the Rock Pigeon...

s, which were once used many years ago to carry messages but are now bred primarily for their "carriage" and other show qualities.

Carrier pigeons historically carried messages only one way, to their home.
Encyclopedia
A carrier pigeon is a homing pigeon
Homing pigeon
The homing pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeon derived from the Rock Pigeon selectively bred to find its way home over extremely long distances. The wild rock pigeon has an innate homing ability, meaning that it will generally return to its own nest and its own mate...

 (specifically a domesticated rock pigeon
Rock Pigeon
The Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon, is a member of the bird family Columbidae . In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon"....

, Columba livia) that is used to carry messages. Using pigeons to carry messages is generally called "pigeon post
Pigeon post
Pigeon post is the use of homing pigeons to carry messages. Pigeons were effective as messengers due to their natural homing abilities. The pigeons were transported to a destination in cages, where they would be attached with messages, then naturally the pigeon would fly back to its home where the...

". Most homing or racing type varieties are used to carry messages. There is no specific breed
Breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

 actually called "carrier pigeon". Carrier pigeons that are the basic Racing Homer
Racing Homer
A Racing Homer is a breed of pigeon that has been selectively bred for more speed, and enhanced homing instinct for the sport of Pigeon racing. A popular domestic pigeon breed, the Racing Homer is also one of the newest.-Development:...

 were used to carry messages in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Thirty-two pigeons were presented with the Dickin Medal
Dickin Medal
The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war. It is a bronze medallion, bearing the words "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath, carried on a ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue...

.

Carrier pigeons should not be confused with English Carrier
English Carrier
The English Carrier is a breed of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. English Carriers, along with other varieties of domesticated pigeons, are all descendants of the Rock Pigeon...

s, which were once used many years ago to carry messages but are now bred primarily for their "carriage" and other show qualities.

Carrier pigeons historically carried messages only one way, to their home. They had to be transported manually before another flight. However by placing their food at one location and their home at another location, pigeons have been trained to fly back and forth up to twice a day reliably. This setup allows Pigeons to cover 160 km (99 mi) round trip. Their reliability has lent itself to occasional use on mail routes, such as the Great Barrier Pigeongram Service established between Auckland
Auckland
The Auckland metropolitan area , in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with residents, percent of the country's population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island is a large island of New Zealand, situated to the north-east of central Auckland in the outer Hauraki Gulf. With an area of it is the fourth-largest island of New Zealand's main chain of islands, with its highest point, Mount Hobson, rising...

 in November 1897.
With training, pigeons can carry up to 75 g (2.5 oz) on their backs. The German apothecary Julius Neubronner
Julius Neubronner
Julius Gustav Neubronner was a German apothecary, inventor, company founder, and a pioneer of amateur photography and film. He was part of a dynasty of apothecaries in Kronberg im Taunus...

 used carrier pigeons to deliver urgent medication. In 1977 a similar carrier pigeon service was set up for the transport of laboratory specimen between two English hospitals. Every morning a basket with pigeons was taken from Plymouth General Hospital to Devonport Hospital. The birds then delivered unbreakable vials back to Plymouth as needed. The 30 carrier pigeons became unnecessary in 1983 because of the closure of one of the hospitals. In the 1980s a similar system existed between two French hospitals located in Granville and Avranche.

Wartime use

Before the advent of radio, carrier pigeons were frequently used on the battlefield as a means for a mobile force to communicate with a stationary headquarters. Cyrus
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, king of Persia, used carrier pigeons to communicate with various parts of his empire. During the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, besieged Parisians used carrier pigeons to transmit messages outside the city. In response, the besieging German Army employed hawks to hunt the pigeons.

During the First and Second World Wars, carrier pigeons were used to transport messages back to their home coop behind the lines. When they landed, wires in the coop would sound a bell or buzzer and a soldier of the Signal Corps would know a message had arrived. He would go to the coop, remove the message from the canister and then send it to the right persons by telegraph, field phone or personal messenger.

Carrier pigeons did an important job. It was also very dangerous. If the enemy soldiers were nearby when a pigeon was released, they knew that the bird would be carrying important messages and tried their best to shoot the pigeon down so the message couldn't be delivered.

Some of these pigeons became quite famous among the infantrymen they worked for. One pigeon named "The Mocker", flew 52 missions before he was wounded. Another was named "Cher Ami
Cher Ami
Cher Ami was a registered Black Check Cock homing pigeon which had been donated by the pigeon fanciers of Britain for use by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I and had been trained by American pigeoneers...

". He was injured in the last week of the war and it seemed impossible for him to reach his destination. Though he lost his foot, the message got through to save a large group of surrounded American infantrymen.

See also

  • English Carrier
    English Carrier
    The English Carrier is a breed of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. English Carriers, along with other varieties of domesticated pigeons, are all descendants of the Rock Pigeon...

  • Racing Homer
    Racing Homer
    A Racing Homer is a breed of pigeon that has been selectively bred for more speed, and enhanced homing instinct for the sport of Pigeon racing. A popular domestic pigeon breed, the Racing Homer is also one of the newest.-Development:...

  • Pigeon Racing
    Pigeon racing
    Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing specially trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a carefully measured distance...

  • Pigeon photography
  • IP over Avian Carriers
    IP over Avian Carriers
    In computer networking, IP over Avian Carriers is a humorously intended proposal to carry Internet Protocol traffic by birds such as homing pigeons. IP over Avian Carriers was initially described in RFC 1149, a Request for Comments issued by the Internet Engineering Task Force written by D....

    , an RFC
    Request for Comments
    In computer network engineering, a Request for Comments is a memorandum published by the Internet Engineering Task Force describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems.Through the Internet Society, engineers and...

     that was published on
    April Fools' Day RFC
    Almost every April Fools' Day since 1989, the Internet Engineering Task Force has published one or more humorous RFC documents, following in the path blazed by the June 1973 RFC 527 entitled ARPAWOCKY, which parodied Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem Jabberwocky...

     April Fools' Day
    April Fools' Day
    April Fools' Day is celebrated in different countries around the world on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when many people play all kinds of jokes and foolishness...

    , 1990.

External links



The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK