I invested a pleasant hour today learning about Homing Pigeons from Wikipedia. Herein I share the fruits of my clicking:
Cher Ami was a French homing pigeon and a war hero. From Wikipedia: "[Cher Ami] helped save the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the battle of the Argonne, October 1918. In his last mission, he delivered a message despite having been shot through the breast. The bird was awarded the Croix de Guerre, for heroic service delivering 12 important messages in Verdun." You can see Cher Ami at the Smithsonian, where he's displayed with Sergeant Stubby, the "most decorated war dog of World War I." (See also: the Dickin Medal, a war honor for animals.)
More after the jump...
G.I. Joe is almost as famous as Cher Ami -- he was from the U.S. and is credited with saving over 1,000 British troops during World War II. (More about G.I. Joe.)
Homing pigeons have been used for millennia - as far back as the ancient Greeks, who conveyed the names of winning Olympians via pigeon.
Pigeon Post was a Nineteenth-century version of Air Mail developed in Auckland, New Zealand. (Check out a Pigeon-Gram stamp from 1899.)
IP over Avian Carriers is an actual RFC (number 1149) that describes a method for transmitting Internet Protocol traffic via bird. Although it was originally an April Fool's joke in 1990, Wikipedia reports: "IP over Avian Carriers was actually implemented by the Bergen Linux User Group. They sent 9 packets over a distance of approximately 5km (3 miles), each carried by an individual pigeon and containing one ping (ICMP Echo Request), and they received 4 responses. With a packet loss ratio of 55%, and a response time ranging from 3000 seconds to over 6000 seconds, IP over Avian Carriers seems unlikely to be adopted more widely as a data-link method for IP networks."