The culprit behind a mysterious disappearance of poppies from an Australian war memorial has been unmasked as a broody bird.
Staff at the tomb of the unknown soldier in the capital Canberra had been left scratching their heads when they began noticing the poppies disappear in early October.
But it turns out the thief was in fact a pigeon, who had built a colourful home near a stained glass window at the Australian War Memorial.
A maintenance worker reportedly clocked the carefully crafted nest in the Hall of Memory in late October.
The memorial told the Sydney Morning Herald that the wounded soldier symbolised the quality of ‘endurance’, and that the nest of poppies was a ‘reminder of the powerful bond between man and beast on the battlefield’.
Pigeons were used in World War Two to carry messages among the army, with some even winning medals.
Historian Dr Meleah Hampton told the Herald: ‘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 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.’
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Today’s Remembrance Sunday commemoration saw members of the Royal family and various politicians place wreaths at the Cenotaph in London.
A 104-year-old veteran was the oldest joining the commemorations.