Do You Know About All The Things Pigeons Can Do?

You guys. It’s SO MUCH STUFF.

Sophie Lucido Johnson
6 min readApr 2, 2022


Illustration by the author.

How do you feel about pigeons? There are only three correct answers to this:

  2. Look, I’m not that in to pigeons, but I have respect for them.
  3. I don’t know how I feel about them, Sophie. That’s why I am here, reading this article.

If you are already in the first category, I imagine I’m not going to say anything you don’t already know. You probably have already read this important piece by Michelle Téa, and maybe you’ve already read this also-important comic that I made last year. Maybe you’re just here to have a downloadable PDF of this “Things Pigeons Can Do” poster. There it is. You can go now.

If you fall under categories two or three, or a fourth, unspoken anti-pigeon category, gather ‘round. Let me tell you a little bit about pigeons.

Pigeons can do a lot of human hang-out things.

It’s not like pigeons have to do human things, but they’ve historically been way nicer to us than we deserve. Humans have taught pigeons to play ping-pong, to race each other for sport, and become loyal friend that will return to your human self if you are willing and able to show them you care about them. This is really incredible, whereas humans are pigeons’ greatest predators. Frankly, we’re horrible to them, and they keep showing up for us.

Pigeons have fought in wars and saved lives.

The most famous war pigeon was Cher Ami, a male homing pigeon who delivered a critical message from an encircled battalion in World War I, even though he was seriously injured. (Yes, he did win a purple heart.) Because pigeons are so intelligent and loyal, many of them were trained as spies and messengers in early wars.

They continue to save human lives into the twenty-first century. Pigeons (who are fast, can fly, and have great eyesight) have been trained to to look for red or yellow life jackets in order to find people who have been lost at sea. And since they can perceive ultraviolet light surrounding a person in the water (!!!!!), there…



Sophie Lucido Johnson

A person who writes and draws and eats her feelings.