So much for not killing the messenger. This past weekend at the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered an annual address appealing for global peace. With the help of two children, he released two all-white doves. To Christians, the birds represent peace, but to a gull and a crow, the birds represented lunch. (Image by Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Hooded Crow and a Yellow-legged Gull attacked the doves, which seem to have escaped a few feathers lighter. National Geographic offers a science-driven analysis of the incident, which is apparently just a case of predators being, well, predators. (For a snarkier take, try Gawker, which has a story suggesting the attack has ominous overtones.)

This isn’t the first time that papal doves have met with misadventure. Previous releases have resulted in similar chase scenes, and at least in one instance, the birds flew back into the papal apartments. All of which is has animal-rights organizations urging the pontiff to reconsider the practice, reminding him that his namesake, Francis of Assisi, is known as the patron saint of animals.

Written by Meredith Mann
The lowly Red-winged Blackbirds in suburban New York triggered Meredith Mann's interest in birds. Five years later, she's explored some of the the USA's coolest hotspots, from Plum Island in Massachusetts to the Magic Hedge in Chicago to the deserts of Fallon, Nevada. She recently migrated from the Windy City (where she proudly served as a Chicago Bird Collision Monitor, rescuing migrants from skyscrapers and sidewalks) to Philadelphia, where she plans to find new editing and writing gigs; keep up her cool-finds chronicle, Blog5B; and discover which cheesesteak really is the best. And she will accept any and all invitations to bird Cape May, NJ.