Papal peace doves get a new protector!

Remember the problem that Francis’ papal peace dove had a while back?  It had a really bad day when it was attacked by a crow and a seagull.  HERE

I read now at ICN that there is a plan in place to prevent this from happening again.

Vatican introduces new security measure in St Peter’s Square

Vatican officials today are introducing a new measure to keep St Peter’s Square clear of marauding birds. A team in the Swiss Guards has been assigned the task of supervising a Sharris Hawk, [sic – surely this is Harris, no? Parabuteo unicinctus.] which will be brought out during the Weekly Audiences and the Angelus – on Wednesdays and Sundays.

On 26 January this year, two white peace doves were attacked by a crow and a seagull, seconds after they were released from a window in the Apostolic Palace by Pope Francis, accompanied by two young children. One dove lost several feathers in the fracas.

Swiss Guard and Sylvia

A spokesman for the Vatican Press Office said: “Such an event will not happen again.” He explained: “The hawk, which is called Sylvia, was bred in a wildlife centre in northern Italy and is highly trained. Her mere presence should act as a deterrent to any more attacks such as the one which took place in January. In addition however, she will act as an escort and protector to the peace doves after the ceremonies, accompanying the birds when they fly home from Saint Peter’s to their aviary, which is about one and a half a kilometres from the Vatican.” [Just about anything could happen to them over that distance.  Think about it!]

With a wingspan of up to 120 cm (47 inches) Sharris Hawks originally come from the southwestern United States, Chile and Argentina. They have dark brown plumage with chestnut shoulders, wing underwings, white on the base and tip of the tail, long, yellow legs and beak.

For further pictures, visit the ICN Facebook page here.

Let us not forget the hawk that used to visit my old place, the Sabine Farm.   HERE (with the legendary image from the great Vincenzo!)


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Reginald Pole says:

    I wonder if Sylvia likes squab?

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    What is the hawk eats the doves?

  3. acardnal says:

    What will prevent the Sharris hawk from attacking the peace doves?

  4. Magpie says:

    It’s Harris Hawk, not Sharris Hawk. [That’s just typo, but it is in the original.]

  5. Cantor says:

    Just curious – were the two small children with the crow and the seagull, or did the Pope drop them from the window along with the doves?

  6. katerosemar says:

    We’ll know we’re really in trouble when this intervention no longer works. When, perhaps,
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . . .

  7. BLB Oregon says:

    Good around doves, but no promises when it comes to two-year-olds.

    (Why does this day only come once a year?)

  8. secondeve says:

    Have the children recovered from their fall off the balcony? It must have been such a shock to see the doves attacked. Good thing the Pope caught them both, one in each hand!

  9. amsjj1002 says:

    First thing that came to my mind: when I carried my pet bird on my shoulder, occasionally it would… go.

    Wouldn’t want to see that on the Swiss Guards! Or are the hawks highly trained for that as well? Now I’m wondering!

  10. MouseTemplar says:

    Could this place the Christological Goldfinches in danger?

    [Good point.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  11. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I think the Vatican should look into the advantages of papal drones.

  12. Gratias says:

    I fell for it.

  13. Pingback: Meet the new body guards for the Papal Peace Doves…

Comments are closed.