If you have been following Wimbledon, you may have come across the name ‘Rufus The Hawk’. Not a comical nickname for one of the players, Rufus is a 6 year old male Harris Hawk, who works for the family business Avian Environmental Consultants based in Brigstock, Northamptonshire. Rufus works at Wimbledon with his handlers Donna and Imogen to prevent pigeons from causing any interruptions and distractions during play, which is of the utmost importance in such a demanding game!
Harris Hawks are designed for weaving in and out of shrubs and woodland, and are renowned for being stealthy in flight, therefore lending themselves perfectly to weaving in between the courts and the girders up in the roof. The presence of a Harris Hawk is effective as the pigeons realise it is not a safe place for them to roost, and simply relocate elsewhere. In the wild, Harris Hawks are one of the only birds who hunt in their family groups, working together to flush out their prey, and our relationship is exactly the same – Rufus flushes out any birds within the vicinity of Wimbledon and then returns for a reward, usually of chicken or quail. Rufus is a wild animal and likes to remind us that every day he will work on his own accord, and as long as we fly him at his optimum flying weight of 1lb 6oz, we know that he will return to us at the end of his flight.
Working with a variety of of birds of prey dependent on the location and problem species, Donna and Imogen provide non-lethal, environmentally-friendly bird control solutions in a range of locations across London and the Midlands including the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Westminister Abbey, Northampton Saints Rugby Club, Billingsgate Fish Market, the Royal Marsden Hospital, TATA Steel and many more. Alongside the bird control services, Donna and Imogen also hold hawking and falconry days, educational visits and environmental monitoring services.
Rufus has received increased exposure in recent years, and now has over 7000 followers on his twitter account @RufusTheHawk where he gives sneak peeks of behind the scenes at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships – even being lucky enough to meet Andy Murray.
Read more about Imogen, Donna and Rufus http://www.avianenvironmental.co.uk/