A local author will give a virtual talk at the Scarborough Public Library. Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — Elizabeth G. Macalaster will give virtual illustrated author talk at the Scarborough Public Library as part of the Authors at the Library series.

For more than seven decades, homing pigeons provided the U.S. military with its fastest most reliable means of communication.

Macalaster’s book, “War Pigeons: Winged Couriers in the U.S. Military, 1878-1957,” is the first complete account of the remarkable service that homing pigeons provided for the American armed forces, from its fledgling beginnings after the Civil War to the birds’ invaluable role in communications in every branch of the U.S. military through both World Wars and beyond. Personal narratives, primary sources and news articles tell the pigeons’ stories. Macalaster will entertain questions after her talk. “War Pigeons” can be borrowed from the collection at the Scarborough Public Library.

This virtual event is free to attend and open to the public. Click https://www.scarboroughlibrary.org/registration/macalaster-talk to register for the Zoom link. Contact Lucy J. Norvell, coordinator of Programming and Communications, at  [email protected] with questions for the author or for additional information.

Macalaster started her career as a marine biologist, studying a deep-water, North Atlantic octopus. She then turned to science journalism and worked for the Department of the Interior and the EPA on water quality issues.

Macalaster writes science and history articles for magazines and newspapers on topics ranging from bridges to homing pigeons. She grew up with barnyard birds as pets and has maintained an interest in bird flight. While researching a young adult book about women spies, she came across information about homing pigeons making reconnaissance flights with cameras strapped to their chests. As the feathered spies flew over the countryside, the tiny camera snapped photos of the landscape below. The swift and strong little bird snagged her curiosity, and she began her foray into the world of homing pigeons.

Macalaster lives in Brunswick with her husband.

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