This is a model of Julius Neubronner's quirky invention: the pigeon camera. Neubronner was a German apothecary, who regularly used pigeon post to deliver pharmacy prescriptions to customers and urgent mediation to the sanatorium in Falkenstein near Frankfurt. He was also a passionate amateur photographer. In the early 20th Century he experimented with aerial photography devices that could be strapped onto birds. He was granted a patent for his invention in 1908.
The invention had mixed success. Whilst a pigeon is strong enough to carry a small camera without it adversely effecting its flight, a pigeon will fly where it wants to, and this will probably not be where the pigeon trainer wanted it to go. In times of conflict, pigeons become targets as they are known to carry messages. Hungry soldiers and civilians can also reduce their numbers!