Poppy-stealing pigeon offers poignant reminder of war anniversary

November 09, 2019

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Canberra (Australia): A pigeon builds a nest with collected poppies at the Australian War Memorial in this undated recent handout photo.—Reuters
Canberra (Australia): A pigeon builds a nest with collected poppies at the Australian War Memorial in this undated recent handout photo.—Reuters

MELBOURNE: A pigeon has been pinching poppies from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Australia’s national war memorial in Canberra and using them to build a colourful nest in the lead-up to Remembrance Day commemorations.

The pigeon has created the nest with the red flowers under the soft light of a stained glass window at The Australian War Memorial, the West Australian newspaper reported.

It was preparing for a new life in a place that commemorates death, sacrifice and renewal.

The poppy is a symbol used by Commonwealth countries to recognise the sacrifice made by armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.

The pigeon is a symbol of war and peace and played a vital role in the war effort.

Pigeons were such a crucial part of the war effort the Australian Corps of Signals Pigeon Service was formally established in 1942, enlisting about 13,500 trained pigeons supplied by pigeon fanciers across Australia to help military communication.

“The wounded soldier symbolises the defining quality of endurance, and the nest of poppies nearby is a poignant reminder of the powerful bond between man and beast on the battlefield,” a War Memorial spokesperson told the West Australian.

Remembrance Day is commemorated on Nov 11 each year.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019