I'm creating a history/fantasy story containing carrier pigeons or other messenger birds.

Historically, as far as I understand it, certain people professionally trained and kept carrier pigeons or other messenger birds, and would charge a fee for the service of transporting messages. They were also used in war.

What is the title of the professional thus employed? Also, what would you call the business/service? (E.g. Bob's Avicultural Communiques)

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    I like your question. I may be wrong about this, (hopefully someone can help) but I think you need to have TWO bird guys - one on each end - as the instinct is for the bird to fly HOME. If you wanted to get a message back to HQ, you'd have to bring a bird FROM HQ with you, (wherever you were going) in order to send it back. – Oldbag Jun 7 '15 at 23:09
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    I'm very tempted to answer Eeylops, but I think we're on the wrong SE site for that. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 7 '15 at 23:14
  • I have heard of dove release specialists, who provide homing rock doves for release at weddings, funerals etc. I don't know if the wartime carrier pigeon handlers would be referred to by another name? cc @Oldbag you are correct in that birds are taken from home to the chosen destination, so they can fly home again! – Julie Carter Jun 7 '15 at 23:42

I think fancier and keeper would apply generally to those who keep and breed pigeons, but the OP requires a term for someone charged with the care and organisation of, specifically, carrier/messenger pigeons.

I've come across this reference:

The Pigeoneers ™

2012 - USA - English - 111 minutes - Alessandro Croseri Productions LLC Directed by: Alessandro Croseri Featuring: Col. Clifford A. Poutre, Chief Pigeoneer US Army Signal Corps, 1936-1943

In this debut feature film, director Alessandro Croseri delivers a stunningly beautiful ode to combat pigeons and their pigeoneers. The documentary follows Col. Clifford Poutre at age 103 during the final year of his life and examines his innovations in the training of homing pigeons for combat missions during World War II...

  • Amazing - it looks like "pigioneers" was indeed the term! – Fattie Jun 8 '15 at 4:18
  • The OED says: pigeoneer: U.S. "A person who trains or breeds homing pigeons, formerly esp. in the U.S. Army Signal Corps." And the first usage cited is in 1918. So this word was coined by the U.S. Army circa World War I, and any older uses would be anachronistic. But appropriating it for a fantasy story seems perfectly reasonable, as I think it sounds better than pigeon keeper or pigeon trainer. – Peter Shor Jun 8 '15 at 11:00

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