Nature never stops to amaze us. While we often believe we are superior in the world we live in, Nature has some pretty interesting ways to remind us that we are nothing compared to its creativity and power.
Since early October, the staff of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra has noticed that, for a while, the poppies from an unknown soldier’s grave have been disappearing one by one.
After some time, they realized that the culprit was a pigeon, that has been picking the flowers to build a colorful nest by a stained glass window at the war memorial.
The website for the Australian War Memorial reads:
“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 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 war memorial reported that the stained glass window accidentally chosen by the bird commemorates the wounded soldier, as a symbol of the quality of “endurance”, and the nest of poppies nearby was a “reminder of the powerful bond between man and beast on the battlefield”.
Throughout history, pigeons have been useful allies during battle. Historian Dr. Meleah Hampton explained:
“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.”
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association claims that almost a quarter of a million pigeons were utilized for their homing ability and speed in communicating messages during the Second World War.
Pigeons had special message containers attached to their legs or pouches over the bodies.
The website for the Australian War Memorial also reports:
“Between 1942 and 1943, pigeon fanciers across the country gave some 13,500 trained pigeons to the army for signals use purposes. There are lots of stories of pigeons valiantly going forward and saving people’s lives.”
At the time, 32 pigeons received The PDSA Dickin Medal which is awarded to animals displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
One pigeon on duty, ‘White Vision’, received the medal for “delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an aircrew while serving with the RAF in October 1943”.
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