Saturday, March 6, 2010

Camouflaged Pigeons

In reading about this, we were reminded of Jerzy Kosinski's novel, The Painted Bird, but in this case the birds were not literally painted. On page 81 of the January 1941 issue of Popular Science (as shown above), it was reported that retired US Army Captain Ray R. Delhauer, an expert on carrier pigeons, had been breeding them to be disruptively patterned and thereby better camouflaged. These birds were used to transport secret messages, which were placed inside a small capsule, inserted into the bird's crop, and retrieved by a gentle massage when the bird had completed its mission.