Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Cher Ami

Cher Ami

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Downloads
Description
Physical Description
Stuffed carrier pigeon.
Specific History
Cher Ami was a registered Black Check cock carrier pigeon, one of 600 birds owned and flown by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. He delivered twelve important messages within the American sector at Verdun; on his last mission, October 4, 1918, he was shot through the breast and leg by enemy fire but still managed to return to his loft with a message capsule dangling from the wounded leg. The message Cher Ami carried was from Major Charles S. Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion" of the Seventy-seventy Infantry Division that had been isolated from other American forces. The message brought about the relief of the 194 battalion survivors, and they were safe behind American lines shortly after the message was received.
For his heroic service, Cher Ami was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with palm. He was returned to the United States and died at Fort Monmouth, N.J. on June 13, 1919, as a result of his wounds. Cher Ami was later inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame in 1931, and received a gold medal from the Organized Bodies of American Pigeon Fanciers in recognition of his extraordinary service during World War I.
Object Name
pigeon, stuffed
pigeon
associated date
1917 - 1918
occurred
France
Physical Description
feathers (overall material)
glass (overall material)
plaster (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 9 1/2 in x 11 in x 5 1/2 in; 24.13 cm x 27.94 cm x 13.97 cm
ID Number
AF.30714
accession number
65695
catalog number
30714
Credit Line
War Department. U.S. Signal Corps
subject
Birds
World War I
The Emergence of Modern America
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Military
ThinkFinity
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

We as human beings have failed as a species. Cher Ami saved countless lives, more so than any soldier could have done in that situation. How do we repay such a humble, noble soul?? We stuff her and put her on display. Cher Ami deserves a proper burial at Arlington National Cemetery with full Military Honors. A monument should be erected in her honor, as well as in the honor of all the other animals who were dragged unwittingly into our human quarrels.
This TOTALLY helped with my school project TYSM!!!!
Why is Cher Ami still being referred to as "he" in your information when it was discovered that this heroic bird was actually a female??
Cher Ami will be undergoing some conservation and testing to determine sex - in the next year. Until then, we continue to use the existing pronoun.
I am currently writing a ghost story and using Cher Ami in the work. The name of the story is being called, TALE FEATHER BY NO SWEAT. You will be able to read this story once it is published. It should appear in THE RACING PIGEON DIGEST sometime between January, 2020 ----MARCH, 2020. About 40 years ago, I wrote a very detailed story about Cher Ami and Paul Harvey wound up using parts of it on his nationally known radio show "NOW THE REST OF THE STORY." It would be interesting to learn who actually bred CHER AMI and of what strain of racing pigeon she happened to be. I believe if you read TALE FEATHER BY NO SWEAT you will enjoy the work.
My great grandfather was the Pigeon carrier for this bird! He was the soldier who shimmied up the tree amongst gun fire and the shooed the bird into the air after it was scared into the tree. I’d like to have seen his name placed in this description.
Dear Leanna Richards, This is amazing that your Great Grandfather was Cher Ami's carrier that day and shimmied up the tree, risking his life, and helping Cher Ami on her way. If you are allowed to share his name in this thread, we (us on the thread) would love to acknowledge him. If not, I just wanted to say how impacting it is to know that your family was part of this amazing heroic story, and how grateful I am for what your Great Grandfather did. What a unique and rich heritage you have.
This pigeon saved my great-grandfather's life in WWI and in doing so ensured not only my existence but countless others in my family. I'm so glad I can see a piece of history that has so profoundly impacted my life.
It wasn't until Cher Ami was stuffed that they discovered she was actually female.
I love the story of Cher Ami. I teach a radio etiquette class to a branch of the U.S. Military. I include a slide on Cher Ami and use it as an "ice breaker" for the class. I'd like to think that it really hammers the point home on how important communication is. Communication is vital in military operations! Cher Ami got the message to where it needed to go, saving many lives. RIP
He is so cute.
I really love this story about Cher Ami it was so sad to hear that the bird got really injured but it was really interesting and detailed. I really loved it because of how much people the bird save and wow 194 people thats a lot for a bird. I lenjoyed learning so much about cher ami.
I am pigeon breeder in the Philippines and I love the story about the homing pigeon during WWI and I saw the movie about the pigeon who save the 200 men behind enemy lines, I don't know what's the title of that said movie.
Hey Joenald, I liked your comment.Sadly you forgot the title of that movie.BTW, I used to live in CEBU; who knows maybe I've encountered one of your pigeons. Although I must admit that I didn't care much about pigeons back then!
As we approach November 11. 2018, 100 years from the end of World War I. "The War To End All Wars" I recall a story my 2nd grade teacher told our class on this day in 1952. On the 11th day of the eleventh month at the 11th hour of 1952 she asked us to stand and face the East, place our right hands over our hearts for a moment of silence. This gesture by the class honored the end of the first world war and honored all that had served in that conflict. Our teacher also told us of the brave carrier pigeon, Cher Ami, that delivered messages as a courier of important information that our military needed in order to rescue the "Lost Battalion". Although seriously wounded by enemy fire Cher Ami delivered the critical message to the Allied Command which led to securing the battalion from being captured. Cher Ami now resides as an American hero in the Smithsonion Institution. I was 7 years old when I learned of Cher Ami and will become 74 in November of this year. Always remember the sacrifice that has been made by so many for the sake of the country. Even a little carrier pigeon!
"Meu nome é Daniele, sou Brasileira, e recentemente assisti ao filme Racing Hearts que mencionou sobre esta ave. Após assistir ao filme busquei aqui mais informações sobre este magnífico herói de guerra. Nunca imaginei que uma ave tão pequena pudesse ter salvo 194 pessoas. Obrigada pelo aprendizado."
"Translation: My name is Daniele, I'm Brazilian, and I recently watched the movie Racing Hearts that mentioned about this bird. After watching the movie I ran here more information on this magnificent war hero. I never imagined that a bird so small could have rescued 194 people. Thank you for learning."
I saw a movie and they had the story of this bird in it . Was really awesome that I could come here and read the story about this bird. Very interesting thank you Debra Madden

Note: Comment submission on our collection pages is temporarily unavailable. Please check back soon!

If you have a question or require a personal response, please visit our FAQ or contact page.