During a tennis game, there is always the risk of being at the mercy of the elements. This is especially true for the Wimbledon Championships 2019. One such blight is kamikaze attacks from pigeons, with their droppings being a major problem. However, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club have a solution already.
For the past 15 years, the authorities have employed the use of a Harris’ Hawk, fondly named, Rufus. Rufus is the successor of the previous hawk, Hamish, and their job was to scare away the pigeons. Rufus was also used during the 2012 Summer Olympics and Westminster Abbey, along with various hospitals, airfields, and landfill sites.
Interestingly, Rufus is even listed as an official Wimbledon employee, complete with his own radio transmitter to detect his location, and a Wimbledon Championships 2019 security photocard.
Admittedly, Rufus has had an eventful life, where he was stolen from his owner’s car while it was parked on a private drive. The theft caused a “global outcry” with the media coverage going through the roof. As a result of his popularity, Rufus was dubbed “the world’s most notable bird” and “one of Britain’s best-known birds”.
The good news was that he was found a few days later and promptly handed to the RSPCA. Although the bird was healthy, poor Rufus did not go completely unscathed, courtesy a slightly sore leg. Rufus’ radio transmitter is removed at night and he is allowed to roam freely.
Rufus has been the subject of numerous miscellaneous projects like Stella Artois’ advertising series ‘Here’s To Perfection’. The Harris’ hawk was also shown in a 360° bird-s eye view of the Wimbledon Championships 2019 venue.
The hawk is so popular that he has his own Twitter and Facebook accounts. In addition to that he has the job title of “Bird Scarer”. In fact, even Wimbledon fans often ask to have their photograph taken with him.