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Melissa Mayntz

Decoding a Pigeon

By November 9, 2012

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Birds have been military experts for centuries, carrying messages behind enemy lines at the risk of being shot, becoming disoriented or being captured by predators. According to the New York Times, one rock pigeon, World War II avian enlistee number 40TW194, never completed its mission and its skeleton was discovered in 1982 lodged in a chimney in Surrey. The message it carried was in code, however, and to this day has not been broken.

Recently, however, interest in the bird's secret message has been renewed, and experts are hoping to break the code and solve the mystery of what message this bird had that was so important - most pigeon messages were not sent in code. A duplicate message was carried by a second bird, but that bird also never arrived at its destination, nor have its remains ever been found.

Have you ever used a carrier pigeon? Share your experiences in the comments!

Flying Pigeons
Photo John Haslam

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