Mar 13, 2013 5:25 PM by Elaine Sheridan
Vatican City (NBC News)-Eyes weren't just glued to the chimney of the Sistine Chapel in anticipation of the white smoke signaling that a new pope has been elected on Wednesday. There was a character to keep everyone's rapt attention: A seagull.
Perched on the chimney, the bird quickly became a social media sensation as the #PapalSeagull hashtag trended. Each appearance of the bird was documented with a wave of tweets. Some wondered if the bird was a spy of sorts, others contemplated booking it for a news show, many gasped as it defended its resting spot from another avian.
Before long, @PapalSeagull was tweeting its own somewhat crass thoughts on the pontification. (And so was @Sistine_Seagull and @PopeSeagull and ... )
But in the end, as white smoke poured from the chimney, the world lost track of Twitter's latest feathered darling, and turned its attention instead to the papal window.