Carrier Pigeon, a variety of the common pigeon (columba luia). This, they?igeon jwive of Belon, the pigeon domestique of Brisson, the wild rock pigeon of the British, and the colom-men of the Welsh, is the stock from which ornithologists generally now agree that the domestic pigeon is derived. The varieties of this bird, produced under the fostering hand of man, the tumblers, croppers, jacobines, runts, spots, turbits, owls, nuns, etc, would fill a volume; the carrier, however, demands especial notice. The carrier pigeon is a bird larger than the common pigeon, measures about 15 inches in length, and weighs about 1 1/4 lb. The neck is long, and the pectoral muscles are very large, indicating a power of vigorous and long-continued flight. An appendage of naked skin hangs across its bill, and continues down on either side of the lower mandible. According to its size and shape the amateurs of carrier pigeons estimate the value of the bird. They consider those pigeons the best that have the appendage rising high on the head, and of considerable width across the bill, and that are also distinguished by a wide circlet around the eyes, destitute of feathers. The instinct which renders this bird so valuable is its very strong love of home, which is in some degree common to all the domesticated varieties.

The mode of training them in Turkey, where the art is supposed to be carried to the greatest perfection, is this: The person who has the charge of rearing and training them takes the young pigeons when they have got their full strength of wing in a covered basket to a distance of about half a mile from their home; they are then set at liberty, and if any of them fail in returning home from this short distance, they are considered stupid, and are rejected as valueless. Those that return home are then taken to greater distances, progressively increased to 1,000 miles, and they will then return with certainty from the furthest parts of the kingdom. In England it is usual to keep these birds in a dark place for about six hours before they are used; they are then sparingly fed, but have as much water given them as they will drink. The paper on which the message is written should be carefully tied round the upper part of the bird's leg, but so as in no wise to impede its flight. It appears from an English ballad, and from a line in Tasso, that in older times the original way of suspending the despatch was from the wing or round the neck; but the above method is that now adopted. - The antiquity of the use of these birds for the purpose of bearing intelligence to distant parts or persons, and the perseverance with which some varieties (that which is named, from its peculiar fitness, the carrier more especially), when well trained, will return from long distances, is well known; but it is not known when or by whom the pigeon was first applied to this purpose.

We have the authority of Sir John Mandeville that the Asiatics used them for the same purpose as the Romans. During the crusade of St. Louis they were so employed; Tasso presses them into service in the siege of Jerusalem, making Godfrey defend one when attacked by a falcon; and Ariosto makes the castellan di Damiata spread the news of Or-rilo's death by a messenger dove. During the late siege of Paris these birds were employed to convey messages beyond the German lines; very long documents, printed by micro-photography on films indestructible by water, and weighing only a few grains, were thus transmitted with great success. The ordinary rate of the flight of carrier pigeons is not generally held to exceed 30 miles an hour, although instances of a double or even triple rate of velocity are recorded. - The education of carrier pigeons is entirely progressive; the distance flown being gradually and slowly increased from half a mile up to 20 or 30 miles. When the bird is able to accomplish this, he may be trusted to fly any distance overland, within the limits of physical power. The younger the bird is, if it have strength to fly well, the greater is the chance of educating it to be a good bearer of a despatch.

If this drilling be not commenced early, birds of the best breed cannot be trusted. When thrown up the bird rises, and when it has reached a good height will at first fly round and round evidently for the purpose of finding some well known landmark, and then make off, continuing on the wing without stop or stay, unless prevented, till its home is reached. If no such landmark is found, the bird is lost. Thus pigeons, when loosed from a balloon at a great height, have, after flying round and round, returned to the balloon for want of objects to guide them in their homeward flight. The magnetic telegraph has now rendered the service of carrier pigeons, unless in times of siege, of little use.

Methods of attaching Letters

1, 2. Methods of attaching Letters. 3. Lieire Carrier. 4. Antwerp Carrier.