It could contain anything from battle plans to letters from secret distant lovers. The Crane Clan began the training of pigeons for this purpose in 525, in order to carry messages more rapidly. Since then their use had spread to all the clans.
Pigeons were delicate creatures, and were treated with great care. The secret to their use was to never feed them on a journey, as pigeons would retun to the place where they have been fed. The pigeon would grow hungry during travels, and then returned home to where it had been fed before in hopes of getting food. The leg band which held the message to the pigeons leg was sometimes marked with the symbol of the clan sending the message. This was done to ensure that if the pigeon was wounded or killed the message might still find its way. 
Pigeon and dove were normally interchangeably, but dove usually referred to the smaller species of pigeons.  Doves were not a pleasant sight in Rokugan. They were an omen of war, and a harbinger of dark tidings. 
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