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Carrier pigeon:the history and uses of racing pigeons. Past and modern uses. From delivering mail to smuggling narcotics, what are carrier pigeons for today.
Many of us hate pigeons: they are carriers of germs, they dirty, annoy the garden and, as if that weren't enough, defecate on the balcony and parked cars ... yet the pigeons, with their flights, have written a piece of our history.
Thecarrier pigeonit's avarietyderived fromEastern wild pigeon and selected for herability to find the way home.
Its scientific name isColumba livia domestica, and is famous for its strong sense of direction and the ability to return to its nest by exploiting a phenomenon still studied today in animal biology and physics, the magnetoreception.
Thecarrier pigeonit is not a past memory. It is true that in ancient times pigeons were used to communicate at great distances but it is also true that they exist todaypigeon-loving competitionswhich have recorded flights piloted up to 1800 kilometers away!
Are there traveling ravens? Although Game of Thrones tries to convince us otherwise, there are no traveling ravens and they never existed in history. In fact, crows do not have the same ability as pigeons and have never been selected to deliver messages.
History of the carrier pigeon
The use ofcarrier pigeonsit was fundamental in past years: the first uses date back to over 3,000 years ago, at the time of Egyptians and Persians. The Greco-Roman civilizations used pigeons to send communications to the far reaches of the empire.
The uses, however, are not limited to antiquity. During the First World War, due to the unreliability of the telegraph (it could fail in the middle of a communication or it could be easily intercepted) the Italian army widely used carrier pigeons for its communications.
In the black and white image, a car colombia used for the transport of 120 pigeons intended for the transport of messages during the war.
The choice of using carrier pigeons during the First World War was so advantageous that it was reconfirmed even in the second great conflict. On June 6, 1944, it was the dove Paddy who brought the first news regarding the landing in Normandy. The dove Paddy traveled about 370 km in about 5 hours.
Today, racing pigeons manage to reach a maximum speed of 160 km / h, although the average speed is 90-97 km / h.
Not only for military purposes, in history the carrier pigeon has been used for:
- Deliver the mail
- Smuggling of narcotics
- Delivering items to prisons *
- To carry multimedia data on USB media
- Communication of all kinds
Between 2009 and 2015, headlines reported the use of pigeons to carry sim cards, small telephone batteries and USB cables inside the prison in Sao Paulo (Brazil).
In the photo above, a bomber with two carrier pigeons. In the event of an accident or failure of the radio communication, the carrier pigeon would have communicated the killing of the vehicle or another message.
How do carrier pigeons deliver the message?
Just like itraveling ravensof the Throne of Swords, even the mostrealpigeons are able to locate the exact point of arrival. How do pigeons find their way around? Simply, intraveling pigeonsthe inclination to find the way home is innate.
How do they orient themselves?
We humans have asixth Sensewhich allows us, with our eyes closed, to identify the exact position of our nose, or to touch a specific point on the knee. If our eyes are closed, how do we know where the nose or mouth is located? Yet this notion is part of ours body awareness,a sort of internal compass that tells us where to find what.
Pigeons also have their own internal compass, only it's much more complex than ours. The pigeon can perceive the earth's magnetic field, nothing magical, this system is based on the position of the sun! Not only that, the traveling pigeon has a strong sense of smell, so as to recognize the typical smells of its nest of origin.
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