Ever vigilant for peace: Vatican hires hawk to protect doves

Attack in January

A specially trained hawk named Sylvia has joined the Vatican to help protect the Pope's doves by scaring off predators, reports AAP/SBS.

The intrepid hawk has been taken on to protect the Pope's doves after two were killed in front of horrified crowds by a crow and seagull, according to a Catholic weekly publication.

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, which will be published today.

It is hoped the Harris Hawk, with a wingspan of 120cm, will scare off predators looking to make a quick meal of a holy dove.

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 immediately came under attack.

The doves did not survive the brutal mid-air collision.

FULL STORY Vatican hires hawk to protect pope's doves (AAP/SBS)