Two days after the first U.S. bridgehead had been thrown back at Rapido (see p. 23), a U.S. carrier pigeon winged wearily into its home base in Italy. Clipped to its leg was this German sneer: "Herewith your message pigeon is returned. We have plenty to eat."
The term carrier pigeon is often used, especially in newspaper and magazine articles, for a homing pigeon or racing pigeon that carries messages. Many pigeon fanciers (particularly homer men and homer women) consider this to be a misnomer because the term is outdated and originally referred to the ancestors of present-day Old English carriers. These "carrier pigeons" were formerly used to carry messages before the modern homing pigeon was developed in the 1800s (initially in Belgium and Britain), but is today strictly an exhibitionpigeon or showpigeon that has mostly lost its strong homing instinct. The "carrier pigeon" was also one of the breeds used to develop the modern homing pigeon and therefore does have some "carrier blood" in it.
^The Carrier, or certainly the Horseman, was the first breed used in England for message-bearing purposes. The name, “Carrier Pigeon,” is still used today erroneously by many writers, especially in newspapers and periodicals, to describe the true Racing Homer. The Carrier today has been developed into a show bird alone, its homing propensities having long since ceased to be developed. — Wendell M. Levi, The Pigeon, 1941 (Renewed 1968), 1946, 1957, and 1963; p57.