AI, Animal Intelligence, animals, Cancer

The Remarkable Pigeon: From War Heroes to Detecting Breast Cancer

#PigeonIntelligence #WartimeHeroes #PigeonHeroes #CherAmi #AmericaKaiser #MedicalDiagnostics #BreastCancerDetection #PigeonResearch #AnimalIntelligence #HomingPigeons #WWIPigeons #WWIIPigeons #PigeonHistory #InnovativeDiagnostics #NatureAndTechnology #HistoricalPigeons #PigeonsInScience #PigeonsInMedicine #PigeonContributions #PigeonStudies,R Tamara de Silva,Wartimeheroes,cherami,AmericaKaiser,Breastcancerdetection,medicaldiagnostics,animalintelligence,WWIIigeons,pigeonsinmedicine

The Remarkable Pigeon: From War Heroes to Detecting Breast Cancer

 R Tamara de Silva


In the midst of urban landscapes, pigeons often blend into the background, seemingly mundane and unremarkable. However, these common birds have a rich history of extraordinary contributions that highlight their intelligence and resilience. From saving lives during wartime to assisting in modern medical diagnostics, pigeons have proven themselves to be far more than city dwellers scrounging for crumbs.

During World War I and World War II, pigeons played crucial roles as messengers, navigating perilous conditions to deliver vital information. The story of Cher Ami, a homing pigeon, is particularly legendary. Cher Ami flew through gunfire and severe injuries to deliver a message that saved nearly 200 soldiers of the “Lost Battalion” during World War I. Despite being shot and gravely wounded, Cher Ami’s determination and innate navigational skills secured her place in history and earned her the French Croix de Guerre for heroic service.

Another remarkable pigeon, known as America’s Kaiser, served valiantly in both World Wars. America’s Kaiser was credited with delivering critical messages that significantly impacted military operations. Despite facing extreme conditions and enemy fire, this pigeon consistently demonstrated an unyielding resolve and accuracy in completing its missions. America’s Kaiser’s contributions were so significant that they were recognized with numerous awards and honors, cementing the bird’s place in military history.


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08 24 2021,portsmouth,,hampshire,,uk,,a,museum,display,showing,gustav,the pigeon (see endote)


The incredible capabilities of pigeons extend beyond their wartime heroics. Recent studies have revealed their potential in the field of medical diagnostics. A study published in PLOS One in 2015 demonstrated that pigeons possess the ability to distinguish between benign and malignant breast tissue images. Through training, these birds achieved an impressive level of accuracy in detecting breast cancer, showcasing their visual discrimination skills and cognitive abilities.

The implications of this study are profound. The pigeons’ ability to accurately identify cancerous tissues suggests a potential auxiliary role in medical diagnostics, especially in areas with limited access to advanced technology. The research highlights the birds’ high-level pattern recognition skills, which can be harnessed to support and enhance traditional diagnostic methods.

Historically, pigeons have held esteemed positions across various cultures. Revered in ancient civilizations, these birds were symbols of peace, prosperity, and divine intervention. However, as urban environments grew and pigeon populations surged, public perception shifted. Pigeons, once venerated, began to be seen as vermin, their presence in cities often viewed as a nuisance. Despite this shift in perception, the historical significance and contributions of pigeons cannot be overlooked.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are at the forefront of many technological advancements in diagnostic medicine, but the cognitive abilities of pigeons remind us that nature has its own remarkable solutions. The pigeons in the PlOS study were trained for all of two weeks.   The intersection of biology and technology opens new avenues for innovative approaches to longstanding challenges.

The adaptability and intelligence of pigeons reflect a broader narrative of resilience and resourcefulness. These birds, often overlooked in everyday life, continue to contribute to society in unexpected and impactful ways. Their journey from wartime saviors to potential medical aides underscores the profound connections between nature and human ingenuity.

As we continue to explore the capabilities of pigeons, we are reminded of the boundless potential that lies within the natural world. As someone who survived a breast cancer diagnosis, I was astounded to learn about the use of pigeons to detect breast cancer in images with an accuracy that rivals a radiologist.  The story of the pigeon is not just one of survival and adaptation but also one of remarkable contributions to human welfare. Whether soaring through battlefields or aiding in the fight against cancer, pigeons exemplify the extraordinary possibilities that arise when we look beyond the surface of our cultural prejudice and tropes to recognize the greater wonder of the natural world around us.

R Tamara de Silva





Chicago, Illinois

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