VATICAN CITY – With no pope, a sea gull is stealing the show at the papal conclave.
Smoke watching has become bird watching in St. Peter's Square after a sea gull perched atop the chimney that belches out smoke from the Sistine Chapel to signal whether or not a pope has been elected.
From the chapel's tiled roof, the gull had a commanding bird's eye view Wednesday of the sea of pilgrims eagerly waiting in the rain for papal tidings. Black smoke means no pope yet; white means "Habemus Papum" — "We have a pope!"
The bird offered welcome comic relief.
Dublin tourist Harry Sheeran quipped that the gull was "nearer to heaven than we are."
Minutes after being spotted, the bird inspired a slew of Twitter accounts.