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The following website has different articles and photos about birds, particularly pigeons and birds of prey, as spies in war: Spy birds

There is some very good info as you scroll down the website, such as the following (although I hate the idea of animals dying in a man-made war):

Brits’ pigeons of mass destruction revealed
ABC News, Saturday, May 22, 2004

Brits' pigeons of mass destruction
One British airman thought pigeons could be used
to deliver biological weapons.

British intelligence agents secretly discussed plans to attack the Soviet Union with pigeons armed with biological weapons, documents made public by the National Archives reveal.
The bizarre Cold War scheme was hatched by Wing Commander WDL Rayner, a Royal Air Force officer who, in the aftermath of World War II, saw suicide pigeons as the future of warfare.
He was part of a top-secret “pigeon committee” set up after the war amid concerns that lessons learned from using pigeons to carry messages through Nazi German lines would be lost as the British military disbanded its flocks. Rayner’s idea called for pigeon lofts to be situated around Britain at locations with the same electro-magnetic and coriolis values as potential Soviet targets.
The History of MI5 and MI6
If war broke out, the birds – whose homing instincts depend on such values – would be released, each carrying a 55-gram capsule loaded with a “bacteriological warfare agent” such as anthrax.
“A thousand pigeons each with a two-ounce explosive capsule landed at intervals on a specific target might be a seriously inconvenient surprise,” Rayner wrote in a paper to the committee.
But the idea ran into turbulence from Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5, which branded Rayner “a menace in pigeon affairs” and disputed his participation on the committee.
In the end, Rayner’s plans for a full-scale experimental pigeon loft, with about 400 birds, never got off the ground, due to wrangling between the intelligence services and armed forces over who should pay for it.
The National Archives in London regularly releases intelligence documents no longer deemed to be top secret. Most are from World War II but some cover the pre- and post-war period.
– AFP


Commando, pictured with the rare medal he won during World War II

Most of us know now that pigeons were used in both World Wars, carrying important messages across the battlefields (for links on heroic pigeons please go to: Heroic pigeons and Pigeons in Military History), however, after World War II their use was stopped. … Or were they?

Here are two current(-ish) reports of pigeons being caught on suspicion of spying:

Pigeon held in India on suspicion of spying for Pakistan

Iran arrests pigeons ‘spying’ on nuclear site


On Sunday night we watched the 2005 WWII pigeon cartoon ‘Valiant’. At the end of the movie they stated that of the 54 Dickin Medals* awarded to animals in war, 32 of them went to messenger pigeons (18 to dogs, 3 to horses and 1 to a cat). I thought that was pretty awesome! Pigeons have so many uses and they certainly deserve recognition for all the wonderful things they do.

The story of Cher Ami and G.I. Joe pigeons are quite well known so there’s no need for me to retype what has already been written. You can find their stories at http://nationalpigeonday.blogspot.com/2008/03/history-of-cher-ami.html, http://www.wingswest.net/pigeons/Warpigeons/warpigeons.html and http://pigeonexpresso.com/famous-pigeons.html if you haven’t heard of the heroic deeds they did. There seems to be quite a few war memorials for animals around the world and one is the Animals In War Memorial in London which I haven’t yet been to but it looks like an interesting place to visit: http://www.animalsinwar.org.uk/index.cfm?asset_id=1373 I don’t go to London often (I’m a country mouse by heart), however, I will try to visit the war memorial some day soon.

After watching ‘Valiant’ I also thought that there aren’t enough pigeons in animated movies out there. The pigeons in the 2008 animated cartoon ‘Bolt’ are pretty cool, however, they don’t play a major role. There are numerous short animated film starring pigeons that can be found on YouTube but not all of them are nice.

When I get some free time I’ll compile a list of favourite short pigeon animations. In the meantime we’ll just have to pray that Pixar/Disney etc. start making more pigeon movies – it’s not like there’s a lack of story ideas and inspiration out there!!

* In 1943 Maria Dickin, the founder of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a British veterinary charity, instituted the Dickin Medal to honour the work of animals in war.