5 Fascinating Facts About Carrier Pigeons

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Long before wireless networks, carrier pigeons were widely used to send messages. We uncovered five fascinating fast facts about carrier pigeons through the years. By Rachel Kwek

800 Pigeons

In the eastern Indian state of Orissa, 400 police stations relied on the Police Pigeon Service to communicate daily and during natural disasters. The service that comprises some 800 pigeons was retired in March 2002.

7,2000 miles

306, a racing pigeon, holds the record for the longest pigeon flight by flying 7200-miles over sea, mountains and desert from Arras, France to Saigon, Vietnam in 24 days

1.75 Hours

Walter Fricker, a pigeon fancier, started the world’s first airmail service – Great Barrier Pigeongram Service – in 1897 in New Zealand. The service operated between The Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand till 1908, with pigeons covering the distance in 1.75 hours.

1850

The international news agency Reuters used a fleet of over 45 pigeons to deliver news and stock prices between Brussels and Aachen in 1850. Taking 2 hours for the 76 mile journey that a train took six hours for, pigeons were more reliable than the unreliable telegraph service that was established by then.

776 B.C.

At the first Olympic Games held in 776 BC, every athlete taking part brought a homing pigeon from his village. If he won his event, his pigeon would carry the news home.

For all things mobile, check out the rest of this article in our upcoming special issue on the Mobile Phone (Asian Geographic No.135 Issue 2/2019 ) or you can also check out our past issues here or download a digital copy here

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