Recently the staff of the Australian War Memorial noticed a pigeon who made a nest out of poppies stolen from the tomb of an unknown soldier.
The staff of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra was perplexed upon noticing a strange sight on the premises. Since early October, they discovered that the poppies from an unknown soldier's tomb had been disappearing one by one.
While it did take some time for them to figure out the culprit, little did they expect it to be one daring pigeon. This bird had been stealthily picking the flowers from the grave and used them to make the most amazing nest, full of color, right next to a stained glass window at the memorial itself. The Remembrance Day commemorations that were held on November 11th acknowledged the stunning nest in the memorial.
“Each day the pigeon has been flying down… to steal poppies, carefully crafting a nest in the lead-up to Remembrance Day in an alcove above the stained-glass window of a wounded Australian soldier,” the website of the Australian War Memorial reads.
The war memorial told Sydney Morning Herald that the stained glass window which was accidentally chosen by the bird commemorates the wounded soldier, which symbolizes the quality of “endurance”, and the nest of poppies nearby was a “reminder of the powerful bond between man and beast on the battlefield”.
Historian Dr, Meleah Hampton acknowledged that pigeons have been in use in both war and civilian life for centuries. “Whenever we talk about animals in war, they are fulfilling a purpose or performing a task that people can’t do easily on their own. So we use horses for transporting people or pulling guns, and we use pigeons as an answer to our problems with communication Particularly in the early wars, communication is really difficult."
"Wireless is in its absolute infancy in the First World War and telephone wires get broken apart in the shellfire on the Western Front. So pigeons are particularly of use in warfare when you’ve got a couple of men trying to get a message from where they are back to the backline; a pigeon can get that through sometimes when nothing else can,” she added.
According to her, when the Second World War broke out, soldiers turned to pigeons for help once more. “One of the surprising things about pigeons is how widely they were used in the Second World War,” she added.
The memorial noted that the Australian Corps of Signals Pigeon Service was established during the war, and thousands of birds were used to help solve the military’s problems with communication. Between 1942 and 1943, pigeon fanciers across the country gave some 13,500 trained pigeons to the Army to use for signal purposes.
A pigeon is making itself at home in one of Australia's most sacred places. It's been stealing poppies from the Australian War Memorial's "Hall of Memory" to build a nest just days before the Remembrance Day service. https://t.co/Gsb8cBnzBq @jenbechwati #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/uyD4gF7sdR— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) November 8, 2019
“In the early years of the war, Australia decided that we should probably look at creating a pigeon service signals corps, so in 1942 they put the call out to the pigeon fanciers of Australia,” Dr. Hampton said.
“A lot of men enlisted to become pigeon couriers for the army and pigeon fanciers around Australia donated their birds.”
A sign of fate— Marina Ivanova (@MarinaaIvanova) November 8, 2019
A pigeon builds a nest with collected poppies at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia, Oct 29, 2019.
The pigeon has created the nest with the red flowers under the soft light of a stained glass window at The Australian War Memorial, pic.twitter.com/SX4UXQ0mb2