Have you heard the story ofNoah's Ark and the great flood? Remember the dove that Noah sends out to find land? It was probably a homing pigeon!Somecuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia, as well as Egyptian hieroglyphics, mention the taming of homing pigeons more than five thousand years ago. A pigeon may have delivered the results of the first Olympic games in ancient Greece. Their greatest historical contributions have been in times of war, when the safety of hand-delivered messages was in jeopardy.

Many war pigeons carried vital messages from trapped populations to the wider world (especially during the four-month siege of Paris in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war), and some delivered military instructions from government headquarters to troops. 32 pigeons actually won Dickin Medals, the highest possible honor for valor that can be awarded to an animal, for their contributions to WWII. A form of aerial microphotography was developed England in the early 1900s, featuring a tiny camera weighing only 2.6 ounces to be worn around a pigeon's neck, but never quite got off the ground.

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., has dedicated a small room to carrier pigeons and WWI pigeon photography.  You can even send your own message today via pigeon post... if you live in Texas, that is!