About us: We own a wild bird feeding supply nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, May 31, 2010

War Pigeon Remembered

Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made in securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.

As this is mainly a bird blog, I thought I would also remind people of the role of the selectively bred Rock Pigeons (Columba livia) during World War I and II. Also called the Domestic Pigeon, Homing Pigeon and Rock Dove, the United States Army Pigeon Service or Signal Pigeon Corps was a unit of the United States Army assigned to train the birds for communication.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia writes: “During WWII, the force consisted of 3,150 soldiers and 54,000 war pigeons, which were considered an undetectable method of communication. Over 90% of US Army messages sent by pigeons were received. The pigeon G.I. Joe received the Dickin Medal for gallantry that saved at least 1,000 lives.From 1917 until 1957, the US Army Pigeon Breeding and Training Center was based at Fort Monmouth, N.J. The US Army discontinued using pigeons as message carriers in 1957.”
Watch the video at: http://youtu.be/kSKrRlD7qOg

After the war GI Joe was sent to the Detroit Zoological Gardens where he died at the age of eighteen. For more information on the use of the domesticated Rock Pigeon from over 3000 years ago to today, go to Wikipedia Homing pigeon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homing_pigeon


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

as a pigeon rehabber and lover, how wonderful that you posted this tribute to the pigeons that saved many lives in both world wars. LInda Roberts

Unknown said...

P.S. It is also interesting to note that more than 25,000 pigeons gave their lives in service to mankind in both wars, and over 600 received metals for bravery. There were MANY OTHER pigeons that gained fame for outstanding messaging service in both world wars, including Cher Ami and others. Thank you for posting this wonderful little film