Messenger birds

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Two rather serious gents dispatching a message by pigeon (also serious).

(a.k.a. the Pigeon post, a.k.a. "Let thy messages take flight as our brand new carrier birds of a feather flock together, far and wide, to carry your Cantr messages!")

How it works:

Step 1: Tame and adopt a bird! Once it is adopted it will automatically have the messenger functions. Birds that can be used as messenger animals are wood pigeons, pigeons, ravens, and crows.

Step 2: Build a dovecote. The dovecote will be required as the nest for the messenger bird. Each bird can be trained to recognize two dovecotes. It is suggested that you have one in the town you are in, and the second in another town you wish to be able to communicate with frequently. Use the "set home" function to choose the dovecote in your location. This is where the bird will go when it is deployed to that home. In a second town, when you have your bird with you, use the same "set home" function to train it to recognize a second dovecote.

Step 3: Write a note. Your bird will be taggable where the note is physically part of the bird. Anyone can describe your bird this way so once your bird is flying between towns to communicate you can send messages, but the recipient can also send something back. This means the birds can only be used to transmit messages, but also if something happens to the bird there will be no record remaining.

Step 4: Let it fly. Once your message is ready to send click the dispatch button and select which nest you want to send it to. Everyone has the same option to deploy the bird so your message can be responded to, and your bird returned. You will see an event indicating which direction the bird is flying.

Step 5: Message retrieval. When a messenger bird arrives in your town it will land in the dovecote designated as its nest. There will be an event so anyone in the area with the bird will see the direction the bird comes from and where it lands so it can be retrieved.


How do I put a new message on a messenger bird?

A tamed bird will have a note button and a copy button displayed when you look at the bird in the Objects page. The note is mechanically part of the bird. The act of editing, copying, or removing the note works just like a noticeboard.

Who can put a new message on a messenger bird?

Anyone. As long as it is tamed, anyone can copy or edit the note. It's just like an unlocked noticeboard, except you can't lock a bird, silly.

Who can "home" a pigeon?

A messenger animal can only be "homed" (i.e. told which dovecote is its home destination) by the owner, which has the exclusive loyalty of the animal.

But how will we feed our birds?

Birds will not eat while they fly. The dovecote can work for feeding them as well as their home so they can eat while not in flight. Just like other domestic birds you can see the level they are fed before sending them on a flight.

What happens if they starve mid-flight?

If a bird dies before it gets to its destination there will be an event like a regular domestic animal starving in the nearest town. The contents of the note will be lost.

How far can the birds fly?

There is no programmed limit for how far the birds can travel, but they can only go as far as their stomach can take them. The less common messenger birds can travel 150 pixels a day, and the common wood pigeon 125. On a completely full stomach, a bird can survive approximately twelve days without eating. (So, theoretically, the maximum distance a bird may be able to fly ranges from 1500 pixels (for wood pigeons) to 1800 pixels (for other birds) over the course of twelve days.)

You must physically be able to travel to each location at least once to train it to know its nest. Also if no one is on the other end to return your bird it could be lost so these are factors to consider when deciding how far to try to send your bird. The longer the flight, the higher the risk that your bird will be lost mid-flight. The dovecote functions as both a nest and a feeding box so if there is food available in it when the bird arrives it will be able to eat at the next animal eating tick.

What kinds of birds can I train to send messages?

Wood pigeons are the most common option available worldwide. Regionally you can also find pigeons, crows, and ravens. There is a small speed boost for electing to use a regional option.

Real World Context

Pigeon post is the use of homing pigeons to carry messages. Pigeons are effective as messengers due to their natural homing abilities. The pigeons are transported to a destination in cages, where they are attached with messages, then the pigeon naturally flies back to its home where the recipient could read the message. They have been used in many places around the world. Pigeons have also been used to great effect in military situations, and are in this case referred to as war pigeon.