How does pigeon letter courier work? How can they precisely know who they should send their letters to?

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How does pigeon letter courier work? How can they precisely know who they should send their letters to?

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A pigeon can find its way home from wherever, so to use a pigeon as a letter carrier you first have to take a pigeon from its home on a journey with you. Later, when you need to send a letter, you can let the pigeon go and it will fly home. So using this particular pigeon you can send a letter to the place that this bird thinks of as home. If you need to send letters to a variety of places, you need to have with you pigeons from each of those places.

Pigeons are homing birds. They can find their way home.
1. you get some pigeons, take them from their owner and keep them at your house.
2. When you want to send something to the owner you let loose one of their pigeons and they find their way home.
You have to have your own pigeons if you want to receive letters and give them to the people you want to receive mail from.

They don’t. They just go home.

That’s how messenger pigeons, or homing pigeons, work. They are bred and trained to fly back home to their roost. This is done by repeatedly taking them a bit further and further away each time.

But then after a while they can navigate back to their roost from anywhere from dozens to sometimes hundreds of miles away. Though it is also possible for them to get lost.

So they don’t navigate to a new place, they just go home, we aren’t really sure how they do it, but that’s what they do.

Edit: for all the people saying “they have a built in compass, they can sense the magnetic field” for how they find their way home. Yes, that is a leading theory, but it is not proven and it is still debated. And really that is only half of the theory, because while a compass can tell you north, south, east, and west, unless you know where you are on the map relative to where you want to go, knowing which was is north doesn’t really help you. So the theory is really a Map and Compass theory, in which we really don’t know what the “map” part is or how the birds keep track of it.

So, messenger pigeons are only useful really for sending messages back home or back to base. So if you are a soldier back in WW1, you job may have been to carry cages of these pigeons so you could strap messages to them for them to fly back to base with, letting base know what was happening at the front.

For two place to communicate back and forth, they would both need pigeons that are from each other’s “home” to be able to do that.

That is not how it works in reality, a message with birds might work like that in fiction but not in reality.

You use homing pigeon that when released flies home to its nest, that is it. You can’t tell it where to go, it will go back to the nest. If there are two locations you like to be able to send a message to you need birds from both places. If you like people to send messages to you that way you need a nest with homing pigeons and then move them in a cage to the other location and then release them with the message

You can have nests that are movable like in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homing_pigeon#/media/File:Bus_pigeon_loft.jpg So it is possible to move it to one location and let keep it stationary long enough for the first to consider it home and then the will return to it.

Carrier pigeons are bred to want to go back to where they were born and raised. So what you would do is to hire someone to breed carrier pigeons for you at home and then send these pigeons in cages to the person you want to receive a message from. They can then attach the message to the pigeon and release it. The pigeon will hopefully find its way back to its pigeon hole and the breeder would then remove the note and deliver it to you.

It was a very good way to receive a secret message fast when you knew that you were to receive a message and from whom. For example the military would carry pigeons so they could quickly send messages home for reinforcements of soldiers or supplies. And merchants would send pigeons to agents in other towns and cities to send messages back about profitable sales so they could be the first to send out goods for trade.

However in most cases you would send out runners or riders with the message as carrier pigeons were not always set up beforehand. It was also common in empires and larger kingdoms to use systems of beacons or semaphores to carry messages even faster then pigeons.

You travel to release your pigeons who will fly home. When travelling back, you may take pigeon from locals to your home, and release them there. They too will fly back home

According to Wikipedia the “one way communication” thing is mostly but not entirely true.

“Historically, pigeons carried messages only one way, to their home. They had to be transported manually before another flight. However, by placing their food at one location and their home at another location, pigeons have been trained to fly back and forth up to twice a day reliably, covering round-trip flights up to 160 km (100 mi).[13] Their reliability has lent itself to occasional use on mail routes, such as the Great Barrier Pigeongram Service established between the Auckland, New Zealand, suburb of Newton and Great Barrier Island in November 1897,[14] possibly the first regular air mail service in the world. The world’s first ‘airmail’ stamps were issued for the Great Barrier Pigeon-Gram Service from 1898 to 1908.[15]”

Let’s say my friend, Bob, raises some pigeons. The kind of pigeons he raises really like their cage and they like it so much, they just wanna be there. So lets say I go on a trip and want to send Bob a letter. Well, I can take one of his pigeons with me on my trip. I can write Bob a letter and tie it to the birds foot. When I let the pigeon go, no matter where I’m at the bird flies home because thats all he wants to do. When Bob looks in his cage one day he sees he has a letter from me!

Pigeons prefer to be in their roost. They always know their way back to it.

The way courier pigeons actually work is less like a text message, and more like a one-way, one-use phone line.

So, say you have two castles. Castle A has a pigeon coup, where a bunch of pigeons call home

Say Castle A wants to send a massive party of knights to take over castle B. They send their group of knights with a pigeon they took from the coup.

When the group of knights wants to tell the king of castle A that they won the battle against castle B (or tell the king that they need reinforcements), they write a note, take their pigeon out of its cage, tie the note to the pigeon’s foot, and let him fly home.

Pigeons are like homing missiles, and they have massive breast muscles. Professional racing pigeons can actually fly upwards of 60km/hr, in a straight line, straight towards their roost

Pigeon comes in, squire checks the pigeon mail, sees your pigeon letter, snatches the pigeon, and reads it.

Birds only go home. It’s helpful if their home is a nearby aviary in the direction of your destination.
At that aviary most of the work is done by people. They’ll receive a message and most importantly it’s destination and/or who its for. The aviary may have a record of people and the aviary that is their current destination.
Each aviary would have already traded birds with other aviaries in the network, prepare all the messages to be sent in the direction they’re meant to go and let them go.
Back in the day if you were important enough to get mail you were important enough to maintain an aviary.

They don’t. People will take a bunch of pigeons with them when they go on long trips.

Pigeons know how to get home from where ever they are because of magic magnets in their head.

When people need to send a message back home they will give it the pigeon via scroll and scroll backpack so that they look like they have little jetpacks.