Fly, Spy

by James Holt

The soldier laced up his boots, strapped on his helmet and tied on his pigeon. That’s right. Some WWI and WWII soldiers would take pigeons with them into battle.

Homing pigeons could fly safely between bullets and bombs. They almost never got lost. And they could hide easily from the enemy. This made the birds perfect message carriers. And sometimes, the messages they carried saved lives.

Wings and a Parachute
Some soldiers would have to jump out of airplanes and glide to the ground on parachutes. When a soldier did this, he would strap his pigeon to his chest in a special sling. Once on the ground, he could move the sling to his back and keep his pigeon with him as he walked.

Other times, soldiers would put the pigeons in a cage attached to a timed parachute. These cages were designed to protect the pigeons during the jump. But with time, the soldiers realized that a pigeon could be perfectly fine in a specially folded paper bag. Once it fell close enough to the ground, the bird would tear out of the bag and glide to the ground on its own.

If these plane rides took soldiers high up in the air, the soldiers would need to wear oxygen masks and big coats. But all the pigeons had to do was fluff up their feathers.

Bird’s Eye View
Sometimes, soldiers would be unable to reach a certain city, but they would still need to know what was happening there. So, instead of attaching a message to a pigeon’s leg, the soldiers would attach a tiny, timed camera to its chest.

As the pigeon flew over the city, the camera would take pictures of the ground every five minutes. Then, the pigeon would return to the soldiers with pictures of what was happening in the city.

Homing pigeons used the wonderful way God made them and served in a time of need.

How can you use the gifts God has given you to serve the people around you?

Copyright © 2013 by Focus on the Family. Photo © Frederic Bisson/; used under Creative Commons License.