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Avian Letter Carriers?

It may be no surprise to you that some birds can, in fact, deliver messages. I'm speaking, of course, of the homing pigeon. Though a homing pigeon may not seem as cool as the owls described in the Harry Potter books, pigeons are the only birds that can be used to deliver messages over a great distance.

You may be familiar with street pigeons. You'll see them in city parks, around grain silos, and pecking along the sides of the highway. These pigeons are most definately not homing pigeons. A homing pigeon is a true thoroughbred and a specially trained domesticated animal. Beginning thousands of years ago, and culminating with a couple of centuries of intensive selective breeding for competitive racing, the wild European Rock Dove (Columba livia) has been transformed into the modern racing homing pigeon; a unique domesicated creature capable of flying nonstop for hundreds of miles to his home while averaging around 50 miles per hour.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
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