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On a whim I started looking into this for application to the bear trail.
How it Works:
Pigeons have a natural ability to find their way back home over great distances, some report over 1,000 miles. They can fly on average 50mph and carry ~2.5oz of weight while flying.
Pigeons have to be conveyed to the pick up point where a sender attaches their message and the pigeon makes it's way back to its home.
so a development of a "hub and spoke" system is necessary. pigeons are delivered to hubs where folks leave messages to be applied to pigeons. the pigeons then fly along the spoke to their home hub where the messages are distributed to their recipient.
A bear could make it a part time job to drive pigeons from one hub to other local hubs.
Doing some research I found that one company reports a delivery success rate of 92%.
Updates to the method:
Given that pigeons have a weight limit there are some modern solutions that could make it possible to have one pigeon carry hundreds or thousands of one-way messages that are basically immune to interception. a pigeon could easily carry a SD card with millions of messages or thousands of regular files.
In addition we could implement a proprietary encryption to the messages on the SD cards (tech bears could help with that). I envision two bears have their own bearmail ID's, one creates a message to the specific ID and only that ID holder can read the message. Lot's of features/possibilities with such things that others are vastly more capable of elaborating and innovating on. Moving Crypto-currencies is another obvious possibility if you're into that stuff.
If we send printed materials, something akin to a QR code could be useful for sending many small pieces of paper that have lots of information on them. Utilizing a similar ID reader limitation on the device that translates it.
Carrier Pigeons are obviously obsolete given the current level of information infrastructure available to even the most plebeian of our fellow citizens, but this is more of a fun project/hobby that may have future or near-future applications. I for one would very much enjoy becoming a homing pigeon post along the bear trail that could become a meeting place for locals as well as a communications center.
And since many of us intend to have animals on the homestead it would be easy for one family to build a boarding coop that could service their whole neighborhood. Remember, you can leave the training of the bird to someone at the main hub nearby and just house and feed the pigeons until a message needs sending to that hub! A guy from the hub just delivers birds to you and they fly back! the guy from the hub could also bring the neighborhood homed bird back to the hub with him and it will bring back all the messages from the hub to you and your neighbors. Sounds pretty low maintenance and awesome if you ask me.
That sounds awesome. Can you make a shorter post or one line summation getting right to the point, because people need that to be convinced to read the longer post.
BB has already floated the idea of radios. That would also enable connection to truckers, which is key!
But pigeons are on another off grid level!
homing pigeons are easier than most have imagined and trained birds are still around.
iQR codes for making applying messages. 40,637 maximum characters = ~8,000 words at an average of 5 letters/word.
That's a long letter.