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"Fine, feathered war heros" by Dr. David Bird, The Gazette, Montreal, Canada

Hi Pigeon Fanciers,

I thought you may find Dr. David Bird's column, "Fine, feathered war heros.
Birds transported vital information during World Wars and before," The Gazette, Montreal, Canada, of interest.

Dr. David M. Bird is professor of Wildlife Biology and Director of the Avian Science and Conservation Centre of McGill University. He is the author or editor of several books including "City Critters: How to Live with Urban Wildlife," "Bird's Eye View: A Practical Compendium for Bird Lovers" and "The Bird Almanac: The Ultimate Guide to Essential Facts on the World's Birds." Dr. Bird has received many awards for his conservation efforts and is past-president of the Raptor Research Foundation, a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, and Canadian representative on the International Ornithological Committee. He is a regular columnist on birds for Bird Watcher's Digest and the Montreal Gazette.

The Pigeoneers Press

Fine, feathered war heros
Birds transported vital information during World Wars and before

By David Bird

The Gazette, Montreal, Canada

November 18, 2009

I often think of my dad repairing the skins of the Spitfires and Hurricanes that were shot to pieces by Messerschmits, Focke Wulfs and ground fire over the Dutch coast during the Second World War. He didn't talk about war much, except to say that most of the time he was scared out of his wits. But David Archibald Bird was not the only "bird" over there fighting the Nazis.

While many of us refer to them as "winged rats" or "flying bags of disease," the lowly rock pigeon has played a very significant role during a number of wars, notably in both World Wars and as recently as the Korean War.

Known as homing or carrier pigeons, these birds have a remarkable talent for finding their way back to their loft over distances of thousands of kilometres and from unfamiliar places in all kinds of weather. They have been valued as faithful carriers of messages during times of both war and peace.

War pigeons were parachuted behind enemy lines in containers for use by the resistance to carry information critical to the Allies. Other birds were released from mobile lofts, tanks and aircraft to take vital messages back to headquarters. Naturally, these actions made them targets for enemy soldiers using not only guns but trained falcons. Tens of thousands died and a number became feathered folk heroes.

To read the entire column, please visit "The Pigeoneers" page on the website: www.pigeonsincombat.com or please click here and scroll down.

Kind regards,

Al Croseri


Premium Member
25,396 Posts
That is a great column and I hope those who don't regard pigeons the same way we do will READ it.

Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
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