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Pigeon Ranch, Los Angeles, CA, Early 20th Century

Postcard from largest pigeon ranch in world, Los Angeles, CA

Postcard from largest pigeon ranch in world, Los Angeles, CA

Other, Fragnoli_Pigeon_Postcard
Document Description
Pigeon ranch in Los Angeles, CA, early 20th century.
Where was this photograph taken?
Where was this postcard sent?
When was this postcard sent?
Why would a pigeon farm be featured on a postcard?
What is the purpose of the structure seen in this photograph?
Historical Challenges
How have homing pigeons been utilized for activities outside of military duty? What purpose do these pigeons serve in American society today?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art:  Design a brochure showing the various advantages of owning a homing pigeon.
English Language Arts: Write an article discussing the operation of a pigeon farm and the various requirements for starting such a farm.

Historical Context
Pigeons have been used to carry messages and perform reconnaissance during war since ancient times. Homing pigeons are able to return to a home base from anywhere. These pigeons were extremely useful as message carriers during both World War I and World War II. European armies were already relying heavily upon carrier pigeons at the start of the First World War in 1914. The United States, however, did not have a pigeon program. General John Pershing ordered the Army Signal Corps to develop such a program and begin use of the pigeons to carry messages. More homing pigeons were utilized during World War I than in any other time in military history because of the lack of radio technology.

During World War II, armies used homing pigeons to deliver messages and take pictures of enemy territory. Even though the radio served as the major means of communication, carrier pigeons allowed armies to send messages with less chance of enemy interception or interference. Spies also used pigeons to send messages from behind enemy lines. The United States ended the homing pigeon division of the Army Signal Corps in 1956.

Essential Question
How do people utilize their environment to solve problems?
Check for Understanding
Write a brief paragraph explaining the role of pigeons in the military.