Start making sense of your financial wellness.

Watch the Sitholes every Thursday at 17h30 on e.tv

Winged guardian for pope’s doves

Comment on this story


IOL pic apr10 pope doves attacked

Associated Press

In this photograph taken on January 26, 2014, a dove freed by children during Pope Francis's Angelus prayer is attacked by a black crow in St Peter's Square at the Vatican. A hawk has been brought in to scare off crows and seagulls in future. File picture: Gregorio Borgia

Vatican City -

The Vatican has recruited an intrepid hawk to protect the pope's doves after two were killed in front of horrified crowds by a crow and seagull, a Catholic weekly reported.

The eagle-eyed bird of prey named “Sylvia”, who was specially trained for the task in northern Italy, has been taken on by the Swiss Guards, according to a report in Credere.

They hope the Harris Hawk, which can grow to have a wingspan of 120cm, will scare off predators looking to make a quick meal of any holy doves.

The doves are traditionally released from the Vatican a few times a year as signs of peace.

But when two children let fly the white-feathered birds from the window above St Peter's Square on January 26 this year, they were killed in a brutal mid-air attack.

The use of birds of prey to scare off unwanted pests is not new: they are often used at airports and football stadiums to get rid of pigeons and have even been deployed in Rome's Colosseum to preserve the monument.

Rome-based falconer Gabriele Siccardi said the new Vatican hawk may need to grow before it can take on large birds, based on photos published in the Italian press.

“It's a young one. I would say about a kilo. If it takes on a seagull, it's dead,” he said.

But Siccardi, who has previously had contracts to keep pigeons out of the Roman Forum and around the Vatican for the city council, said it would “easily” overcome a crow.

“What I would do is train it to intimidate the other birds, not to kill them. There won't be a lot of corpses in the Vatican,” he said. - Sapa-AFP


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks

Business Directory