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Old Tuesday 24th February 2004, 02:21   #1
Katy Penland
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Carrier pigeons in Britain

Not sure if this is the right place for asking this question...

I ran across a tidbit when I was doing some research in Wales last summer about the existence and use of carrier, or passenger, pigeons in medieval times. I stupidly didn't make a note of where I read this and now I'd like to find out if there's any truth to this. Do any of you know? Or even where I could start to look for such info?

Beaucoup arigatos!

Katy
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Old Tuesday 24th February 2004, 04:45   #2
Andrew Rowlands
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Hi Katy,

Used from Roman times (the campaigns in Gaul) through WW2.

Here's a piece that mentions them (the castle was built 11/12th century).

Use of them during the Crusades here http://www.bu.edu/english/levine/reims.htm

Not sure where you should have posted, though - Information Wanted, Ruffled Feathers........?

Regards,

Andy.
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Old Tuesday 24th February 2004, 05:26   #3
Katy Penland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satrow
Not sure where you should have posted, though - Information Wanted, Ruffled Feathers........?

LOL! And good grief but you're up early!

Diolch, Andy, for a most interesting item. I haven't read it all yet (all 71 pages of it!), but so far it's fascinating. How on earth did you find such a reference? And translated into English?! Wonderful!

Do you have any idea if pigeons were ever used by the Welsh or English in the 13th C? I'm particularly interested in communications between castles and whether pigeons would've been used rather than messengers (on foot or horseback).

Thanks again!

Katy
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Old Tuesday 24th February 2004, 20:39   #4
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The pigeons that were used for carrying messages were not the American passenger pigeon, of course.
During WWII, many peregrines were shot because they would have intercepted message-carrying pigeons.
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Old Tuesday 24th February 2004, 22:59   #5
Anthony Morton
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QUOTE = Surreybirder

During WWII, many peregrines were shot because they would have intercepted message-carrying pigeons.



Not strictly true. Again I quote from Dr Derek Ratcliffe's book The Peregrine Falcon that 'Numbers probably fell to about 87% of the 1939 (pre-war) level nationally' during WW2 and also that 'As far as it has been possible to ascertain any figures, something under 600 adults and immatures were shot during this period (1940 - 1945)...'

Ratcliffe then calculates that this puts the number of peregrine falcons culled in order to protect message carrying pigeons as being '...an average of about 100 birds each year over the 5 year period.' Therefore only 13% at most were culled, leaving the remainder to continue breeding normally.
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Old Wednesday 25th February 2004, 06:48   #6
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I bounce corrected!
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