Americana: Hunt and Peck

A flyer has bailed out over open sea. A rescue helicopter circles the area, looking for a sign of pilot or plane. Anxious minutes pass until—eureka! An unlikely crew member sights a life jacket below and alerts his fellow searchers. The pilot is saved, thanks to the quick, keen eyes of an official U.S. military pigeon.

The incident is imaginary, but the bird is not. It belongs to a five-pigeon rescue detachment the U.S. Coast Guard has been testing for three years. Each member of the squad is harnessed into a separate compartment...

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