Harris Hawk Watches Over Wimbledon
Pigeons flying around Wimbledon this year should beware: organisers have hired Rufus, a three-year-old Harris hawk, to scare them away from the event. Rufus has his own official role at Wimbledon – “Bird Scarer” – and works with 48-year-old keeper Wayne Davis, who says that the bird of prey is more of a deterrent than a predator and is more likely to scare the pigeons away from nesting than from actually killing or eating them.
Mr. Davis and Rufus arrive at the tennis courts every day at 5.30am and work for hours, the bird of prey flying around the grounds all day scaring pigeons and other small birds off. The pair then go to other jobs: keeping pigeons off Westminster Abbey and Hampton Waterworks among others. Mr Davis has had this job since Wimbledon ’99 but says that Rufus can occasionally be a bit of a handful – often flying off and not coming back for hours at a time.