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5 Carrier Pigeon Stories

3

The Pigeon Post During the Siege of Paris

Under attack by the Prussians in 1870, Parisians sent messages to loved ones by pigeon.
Under attack by the Prussians in 1870, Parisians sent messages to loved ones by pigeon.
GLEB GARANICH/Reuters/Corbis | Bettmann/CORBIS (2) | Hulton Archive/Getty Images | FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images | PhotoQuest/Getty Images

By the 1870s, the telegraph had been well established, and one might suppose that the pigeon post was a thing of the past. However, pigeons continued to come through for people in dire circumstances.

This was the case when the Prussians besieged Paris in 1870, cutting off communication for months between the residents of the city and their families living far away. Thankfully, many pigeons were still kept by enthusiasts, and the Parisians were able to use hundreds of the birds to send messages to loved ones.

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Because pigeons only return home, the Parisians had to send the pigeons out via balloon to send messages. The pigeons could then return with responses. Also, to send longer messages without overloading the bird, the people shank the messages by means of microphotography.

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