AP Image - at the Vatican
(USA TODAY) - In a final gesture at the Vatican's annual "Caravan of Peace," Pope Francis watched with a wide smile as two children at his side released a pair of white doves from the window of the Apostolic Palace as a sign of peace.
Unfortunately, a sea gull and a large black crow had others ideas, sweeping down on the hapless doves as tens of thousands of people jammed into St. Peter's Square looked on Sunday.
One dove managed to break free from the sea gull, losing a few feathers in the brawl. The crow had a better grip on the other dove, pecking the bird repeatedly.
In the end, both doves got away, although the extent of their injuries wasn't immediately clear.
The boy looked upset at the bird's misfortune, prompting the pope to embrace him and pat his head. The young girl appeared to be laughing at the unexpected turn of events.
Speaking at the window beforehand, Francis had appealed for peace in Ukraine, where anti-government protesters have died.
It wasn't the first time that peace got a rough ride at the annual event, however. The Independent reports. Last year, at the same event, a lone gull attacked two doves on a similar peace mission. The pair, however, quickly turned around and - perhaps fittingly - found refuge inside the Vatican.