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Famous Miracle Birds in History

Miracles of Alex, Cher Ami, Snowball, G.I. Joe, Old Abe, and the Cliff Swallows


These famous birds have such inspirational stories that some people say God has performed miracles through them. Here are are some of the most famous miracle birds in history:

1. Alex

bird miracles
Photo copyright Paul McGuire

Alex was an African grey parrot who participated in pioneering research studies about the intelligence of birds. Animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg worked with Alex in the United States from 1977 to his death in 2007 in a wide variety of university studies. During those studies, Alex demonstrated intelligence far beyond what human beings had previously realized birds were capable of, miraculously revealing the extent to which birds can think and feel.

Among Alex's many abilities were: thinking critically, using language creatively, solving problems, recognizing and describing items, adding numbers, and expressing a wide range of emotions in context during conversations with people.

2. Cher Ami

bird miracles
Public Domain

This homing pigeon became a hero during World War I when she flew through a barrage of bullets and successfully delivered a message that saved the lives of 194 people. During the Battle of Argonne in France in October 1918, a battalion of soldiers from the U.S. Army's 77th Infantry Division got trapped without ammunition on a hill behind enemy lines. Their fellow Allied troops didn't know where they were, so they were firing on their own soldiers without realizing it. Desperate to get word of their location to the Allies, the trapped battalion sent out two different pigeons with notes in canisters attached to their legs, but both were shot down by German soldiers.

They then sent Cher Ami to deliver a note that read: "We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven's sake, stop it!" Miraculously, Cher Ami delivered the note and made it back to the battalion, even though she had been shot multiple times (including through the chest) and blinded in one eye. Allied troops then rescued all 194 of the surviving trapped soldiers, and medics worked on Cher Ami to save her life.

Cher Ami had faithfully delivered other important messages earlier during World War I, as well. She received numerous awards for her heroic war service.

3. Snowball

bird miracles
Public Domain

Snowball -- a white cockatoo with a plume of yellow feathers on his head -- has a miraculous ability to dance. Unlike most other birds, Snowball can recognize different musical beats and accurately synchronize his movements in time to them.

This USA bird's dance moves made him a sensation on the Internet and attracted the attention of scientists from The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California and Harvard University, who studied Snowball and concluded that he does truly dance to music. Snowball is the first animal whom scientific researchers have declared to be capable of real dancing.

4. G.I. Joe

bird miracles
Public Domain

G.I. Joe was an heroic War War II pigeon. While working for the United States Army Pigeon Service in Italy during October 1943, G.I. Joe delivered a crucial message to Allied troops not to bomb a village they were scheduled to bomb -- Calvi Vecchia -- because Allied forces on the ground had already captured the village. Miraculously, just before the bombing was set to begin, G.I. Joe got the message through in time. So the bombing was called off, saving the lives of an estimated 1,000 people in Calvi Vecchia.

5. Old Abe

bird miracles
Public Domain

Old Abe was a bald eagle who became a hero for miraculously helping Union troops during the U.S. Civil War. A female bird who was nonetheless named in honor of then-U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, Old Abe showed remarkable courage while accompanying troops in many battles. She served as an inspirational mascot for Union troops, improving their morale and seeming to cheer them on by spreading her wings out and screaming out loud, fierce calls when they moved into action. Although Confederate troops often tried to capture or kill Old Abe, she remained safely with Union troops and survived the entire war.

After the war, Old Abe went to live in a place of honor inside the U.S. Capitol building. She helped save the U.S. Capitol from destruction in 1881 by using her piercing call to alert people to a fire that had broken out in the building’s basement; people then successfully stopped the fire.

6. The Cliff Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

bird miracles
Andy Rouse / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Every year since the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California, USA opened in 1776, huge flocks of American cliff swallow birds have followed a miraculous migration route. They travel about 6,000 miles from Argentina (where they spend the winter) to the mission, arriving on the same day in the spring (March 19th) and departing for Argentina on the same day in the fall (October 23rd).

The swallows build nests out of mud in various places (such as eaves) of the mission's buildings and hatch their babies there. Their presence has inspired many mission visitors over the centuries as an example of faithfulness and hope at work every year.

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