How pigeon mail works

(ORDO NEWS) — Today it is difficult for us to imagine that once it was necessary to wait months for a response from a friend. Moreover, it is almost impossible to believe that the letters were carried by pigeons! How did the birds understand where they needed to fly?

How did people think of trusting birds!

Pigeon mail was just one option for messaging. Many messages were delivered by postmen on horseback. But such a delivery was accompanied by many unpredictable variables, including accidents, lost letters, unexpected delays, and lack of guaranteed confidentiality. Pigeons, on the other hand, were sometimes faster, and most importantly, more secret.

Carrier pigeons first appeared 3,000 years ago. By studying the behavior and movements of birds, it turned out that they have an excellent sense of direction and can constantly find their way back to their nest. Even after they foraged for food, hunted and flew for miles in all directions, they were able to get home on their own.

Other than that, pigeons are generally very easy to catch. They breed quickly and are relatively docile. And yet the birds had to be trained to fly home from all sorts of places. Usually, when people went on a journey, they took many pigeons with them to send messages.

But how does a bird navigate? It’s all about the skills of magnetoreception . It is the innate ability of certain living organisms to detect and navigate based on the planet’s magnetic fields. Many species of birds have this skill to varying degrees.

Rock pigeons had very strong abilities, which is why they became reliable postmen. It has also been found that homing pigeons travel long distances north and south rather than east and west due to the natural direction of magnetic fields.

Interestingly, over time, people taught pigeons to “two houses”. At point “A” there could be a nest, and at point “B” – the birds were fed. So it became possible to send messages back and forth.


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