The history of pigeon camera photography

NewImage I bought this tiny video camera because my kids and I want to strap it to our cat and see where she goes when she wanders around outside. We are trying to design a safe and comfortable harness for her. That's why I was interested to see this article about the history of pigeon camera photography on Twisted Sifter.

NewImageIn 1907, German apothecary Julius Neubronner invented an aerial photography technique known as pigeon photography. By affixing a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera to an aluminium breast harness, Neubronner attached his design to homing pigeons who would then be able to capture aerial photographs during their flight.

In 1903, Julius Neubronner, an apothecary in the German town of Kronberg near Frankfurt, resumed a practice begun by his father half a century earlier and received prescriptions from a sanatorium in nearby Falkenstein via pigeon post. He delivered urgent medications up to 75 grams (2.6 oz) by the same method, and positioned some of his pigeons with his wholesaler in Frankfurt to profit from faster deliveries himself.

When one of his pigeons lost its orientation in fog and mysteriously arrived, well-fed, four weeks late, Neubronner was inspired with the playful idea of equipping his pigeons with automatic cameras to trace their paths.

The history of pigeon camera photography


  1. Pigeon cameras are the most awesome thing I want to figure out my now. In the meantime a friend of mine from Cape Town, South Africa made a music video with a Dog Camera, it’s most certainly worth having a look at,


    1. Reminds me of an ep of John Safran’s Music Jamboree, in which he critiques music video directors by saying his dog could make a clip that’d get on the telly, and then makes it happen.

  2. I attach a cheap 808 camera from dealextreme to our cats’ collars for just this purpose! It’s great! The video is

    but just a warning it’s 20 minutes long.

  3. Why this isn’t a TV show already I’ll never know. Cats on the prowl and predator birds with night vision cameras would be fascinating.

  4. Tirelessly flying in the service of mankind, these pigeons ask not salary nor retirment benefits nor monuments of recognition, but peanuts, prefererably unsalted.

  5. I strapped an iPhone to one of our dogs (a bichon) while it play-wrestled another.–yAEQuL0  You can see the harness at 0:21.  In the photo it might look like he’s smooshed, but really it’s just a lot of fuzzy fur that’s flattened down by the harness.   It’s made of cardboard and tape.  The tricks were to make an envelope-like structure at the top for the iPhone to slip into, and then tape it into place.  Also, to compensate for the weight of the iPhone on top of the puppy, I taped a small book as a counterweight under the dog. 
    Frank Wu

  6. I second C Jimson’s Mr. Lee cat cam recommendation. The setup is cleverly engineered, cheap, and well explained in the entertaining technical documentation. 

  7. It was handsome at the auction.
    Oh, but when we got it home it grew up into
    something we could no longer contain.
    Where’s our pigeon camera?
    By now he could be anywhere.

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