The Postal Pigeon Program is looking for a few interested bird enthusiasts.

Pigeon breeder and owner Jason Luce of Hope has created the program, called P-mail for short, with the idea of using pigeons to transmit messages.

According to Luce, anyone involved in the pigeon network would agree to have a mailbox, which would be a loft hoisted on a post, in their yard.

The person could then send and receive messages via pigeon to other people in the network. Each bird would have a tiny canister attached to its leg where a message could be inserted.

Luce would go to the person’s house to install the mailbox and he said it would take him about two weeks to train the birds to go from his Hatchet Mountain Road home, also known as the Central Post, to the mailbox.

Luce said he owns four pairs of breeding birds and other young birds come and go so that he generally has between 12 and 30 at his home. He would use the birds’ food to train them to go to the different mailboxes. Each person in the network would be assigned birds with different colored bands attached to them.

The pigeon would fly into the mailbox through a hatch in the top and remain there until the homeowner retrieved the message and set the bird free with a new message.

The plan is to set up the first mailbox this spring at Home Place Farm on Ludwig Road in Hope, which is owned by Robin Horty.

Horty and Luce plan to hold a demonstration this spring for those interested in becoming involved in the program.

People who are interested in having a loft at their house but don’t necessarily want to send messages are also welcome to participate in the program and could simply leave the door of the mailbox open to allow the pigeons to come and go freely, Luce said. Many people just like to watch the birds without having to touch them, he said.

“You can be as hands on and involved as you want to be,” Luce said.

He hopes to get some schools involved in a pigeon pal program, which would allow students to send messages to other schools.

“Birds can do something that technology can’t,” Luce said. “And that is they can carry tangible items.”

E-mail and text messages can’t do that, he said. The birds can carry up to 8 ounces and can transport items such as keys and medicine in a 35 mm film-size container. There are even mini backpacks that can be attached to the birds to carry items.

Pigeons can fly up to 60 mph and generally do better with longer distances, Luce said. The birds have the ability to fly up to 600 miles a day.

Luce said the pigeons enjoy the exercise so it could take them a couple of hours to go a few miles because they like being out flying. He said they could actually fly to Augusta faster than to a closer location because they know they have to get somewhere in order to eat.

Initially, he said, there will be no charge for those interested in the program, but bird food will have to be provided. Depending on the success of the program and how much time it ends up taking, there may eventually be a membership fee, Luce said.

Anyone interested in learning more or becoming involved is encouraged to e-mail Luce at pigeonsofhope@yahoo.com or call 230-4195.