A Pigeon Took These Photographs

Pigeon photographs
Photo credit: Pigeon

A photographer with a fascination for pigeons has attached small cameras to the birds so they can take photos.

Boston-based David Degner approached pigeon fanciers around the world to borrow their beloved pets so that he could capture images through a pigeon’s perspective.

Initially, Degner simply wanted to know whether it was feasible for pigeons to capture images, however, as the experiment progressed, he began wondering about other applications for such a technology.

“From publishing stunning collections of photographs in magazines or books to working with pigeon breeders worldwide to study their birds and their flights more closely. The possibilities are truly endless!” He says.

A photo of a road that a pigeon took
This pigeon photographer gets top marks for composition.
a close up of a pigeon
Close up.

How to Turn a Pigeon Into a Photographer

Degner says that he went through several designs to make a suitable camera harness for a pigeon. He decided to attach the ultra-small Insta360 Go 2 to make it work.

Pigeon camera harness on a toy
Testing on a dummy.

“A pigeon in flight doesn’t have a lot of force,” he explains. “I think of how a bird is engineered with feathers and bones so thin that they easily break, and I design it with a similar philosophy.”

Degner used some clasps and elastic he found in a fabric store and a cardboard chest plate that he got from the trash.

“The back is made from a twisty tie,” he adds. “I use a bit of sewing for the loops that connect the camera, but I also use superglue and gaffer tape where necessary.”

Pigeon wearing the camera rig

Pigeons weigh between 10.5 and 17.6 ounces (300 and 500 grams) and can carry up to 10% of their body weight so the rig had to be around 1 and 1.7 ounces (30 to 50 grams).

Fortunately, the Go 2 weighs 0.9 ounces (26 grams) and Degner’s harness weighs about 0.2 ounces (6 grams). In his tests, the birds were all able to fly for a few miles with the camera attached.

“There is a new Insta360 Go 3, with a better camera, but it weighs about 35 grams (1.2 ounces), so I haven’t bought and tried it yet,” he adds.

Degner published a blog post about the project. More of his work can be found on his website, Instagram, and X.

Image credits: Photographs by David Degner/Pigeons.