By LAUREN EFFRON and DAN MILANO
Well, it's not a cardinal.
But two birds made themselves international stars at the papal Conclave, lighting the Internet aflame with comments and jokes.
The birds, which appeared to be seagulls, chose this historic moment to land atop the chimney of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Yes, the chimney that millions of eyes and cameras from around the world have been fixated on for two days now, awaiting signs of smoke that will announce the election (or not) of a new pope.
In church literature and images, the Holy Spirit is represented as a bird, but as a dove or Paraclete. Not a seagull.
As the first bird swooped onto the chimney at around 4:30 p.m. Rome time, it perched for almost half an hour.
Naturally, Twitter, Reddit and other social outlets just couldn't help themselves. A Twitter account, @SistineSeagull, was created. It has over 7,000 followers and counting.
Its first tweet:
— SistineSeagull (@SistineSeagull) March 13, 2013
By the time the second bird flew in and took over for the first, "seagull" was trending nationwide in the United States.
A second Twitter account, @SmokeStackBird, who goes by the name Pope Seagullus IV, appeared shortly after. One of its tweets:
Had to go, Dennis Rodman wanted to meet me.
— Pope Seagullus IV (@SmokeStackBird) March 13, 2013
So were the birds a sign from God? Were they warming their toes? Or did they just want a high-profile Conclave seat? One meme showed a picture of a bird with the words: "This Bird Does Not Give a F- About The Conclave."
Here's how a few others saw the moment:
Seagull symbolizing the Holy Spirit got bumped by another seagull symbolizing…um…the way one pope replaces another? #SymbolsAreFun
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 13, 2013
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) March 13, 2013
Officially cannot focus on grading essays because there's a seagull on the Vatican chimney. #thisismylife
— kaya oakes (@kayaoakes) March 13, 2013
If the seagull poops white, it means a new pope has been elected. If it poops black, it means it has an ulcer.
— Andres Almeida (@andresdavid) March 13, 2013
Sorry seagulls, only cardinals are allowed to vote in the conclave.
— Juan Crespo (@Air_Force_Juan) March 13, 2013