Wimbledon Relies On Rufus The Hawk To Keep Play Running Smoothly
For years, the grounds of the Wimbledon All England Tennis Club have been plagued with one thing that tarnishes the otherwise picture perfect British venue… PIGEONS!
While the lawns are mowed to perfection, the flower beds are perfectly manicured and the hedges meticulously clipped, nothing could keep the band of resident pigeons from causing a ruckus on centre court. That is until Rufus the Hawk reported for duty.
Rufus wears a specially made hood in classic Wimbledon colours. Image via: The Guardian.
Weighing in at 1 pound and 6 ounces, six year old Rufus the Harris Hawk soars over Centre Court several times a day in order to keep the pigeons at bay. After all, it just wouldn’t be proper to have the birds pottering around the court during crucial points or dropping pigeon poop on the heads of Royal Box attendees. With 5am starts on a daily basis, Rufus is one dedicated Wimbledon worker!
Rufus makes quite an impression on the pesky pigeons! Image via: The Guardian
With an impressive 40 inch wingspan and lethal talons, it’s no surprise that the pigeons refrain from hanging around during the prestigious two week tournament. And according to trainer Imogen Davis, thanks to Rufus’s impeccable vision, no pigeon goes unmissed!
“If Rufus was at one end of a football pitch and a newspaper was at the other end, Rufus could read the headline!” she said.
Rufus has shot to fame this year and even has his own Twitter account, @RufusTheHawk, where he makes regular witty updates…
“Chasing pigeons is an art form, like poetry or twerking. And I, Rufus, am an artist.”
“The reason Sharapova is so loud when she serves is because she wants to scare away pigeons to be more like me.”
Rufus’s trainer feeds him raw chicken pieces as a reward for shooing away all the pigeons. Image via: The Telegraph.
Boasting an imposing yellow beak, rich dark brown plumage, piercing eyes, fierce talons and striking white wing and tail tips, Rufus is a handsome devil who gets more attention than the world number ones when he is spotted majestically patrolling the skies over Centre Court!
Want to know more about Rufus? Check out his amazing video courtesy of Stella Artois that gives a fascinating insight into a day in the life of Wimbledon’s most famous animal resident!