Rufus, a Harris hawk, has been patrolling the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for 12 years, keeping pigeons away from the courts. He has mentored a young falcon named Pollux, who will have a bigger role next year. Rufus is a celebrity with his own social media accounts and was recently featured in a Stella Artois beer ad.
All is well at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club now that the 2019 Wimbledon Championships have concluded, with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep taking home the singles titles. For twelve years, one of the most valuable players around Center Court has been Rufus, a Harris hawk who patrols the 42-acre complex, keeping pigeons from roosting in the rafters, disrupting play or unleashing bird poop shots on fans unaware and Players. Under the watchful eye of his handler, Imogen Davis, Rufus’ mere presence is enough to convince the pigeons to find other, less prestigious places to hang out.
A bird’s-eye view of Wimbledon:
Rufus started working at Wimbledon in 2007, taking over from a hawk named Hamish. Rufus, whose official title is “Bird Scarer,” has been mentoring a young falcon named Pollux, who will have a bigger role next year.
Rufus doesn’t hunt pigeons during tennis matches. A morning flyby about an hour before the start of the game is enough to keep the skies pigeon-free throughout the day.
Rufus was recently featured in the “Here’s to Perfection” series of Stella Artois beer ads. The falcon has Twitter and Facebook accounts and is often asked to pose for selfies.