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'A staple diet?' Bizarre trend of sticking bread to trees hits Australia

A bizarre, viral trend appears to be picking up pace in Australia after a perplexed resident shared an image of a piece of bread stapled to a tree.

One man shared an image of a slice hanging from the trunk of a tree in a local community Facebook group in Brisbane asking if it was something sinister.

It wasn’t long until his post was swamped with responses, many reassuring him the act in question was part of a bizarre viral trend showcased in the aptly named Reddit feed Bread Stapled To Trees.

The tree with a slice of bread stapled to it on the Redcliffe Peninsula in Brisbane.
The tree with a slice of bread stapled to it on the Redcliffe Peninsula. Source: Facebook/ The Redcliffe Peninsula

“On Google it says lots of people do it,” one person said.

It turns out “lots of people” includes an impressive 187,000 who follow the sub-Reddit which was created in 2017.

While the dozens of responses offered some piece of mind over the intentions of the perpetrator on the Redcliffe Peninsula, there was still one burning question on the lips of many – why on earth would people start stapling slices of bread to trees?

Some conjured up elaborate theories including one where ibis use the bread to mark their territory near rubbish bins.

“Bread is a staple diet for some,” another joked.

A tree covered in slices of bread stapled to the trunk.
Some people take the trend further than just one slice. Source: Reddit
A slice of bread stuck to a thin tree.
A traditional attempt. Source: Reddit

‘Example of a strong virtual community’

Perth-based social media analyst Kim Cousins, who has tutored at Curtin University’s Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry department, attempted to shed light on the bizarre sub-Reddit during her time at the university.

“Although focused around an absurd topic, the subreddit Bread Stapled to Trees is an example of a strong virtual community and displays many characteristics of a traditional offline community including weak ties and strong social identity,” she explained in a paper.

Ms Cousins said that virtual communities, such as the sub-Reddit Bread Stapled to Trees, have become “a source of belonging for many”.

And it appears that sense of community isn’t diminishing anytime soon.

Analysing the page, it’s clear new members and old are as enthusiastic as ever to be stapling bread to trees.

“First Staple! Ciabatta on a Pear Blossom Tree,” one contributor wrote earlier this week.

“It’s always a fun time when you staple with someone new,” another explained.

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