How many harris hawks do you know who have their own Wikipedia entry, Facebook and Twitter account as well as featuring in their own TV commercial? Not many! But Rufus who flies the skies at Wimbledon keeping the pigeons at bay can claim all these.
Owned by Northampton-based Avian Environmental Consultants and flown by Imogen Davis, seven-year-old Rufus has become a real media star. He even mingles with royalty having been presented to the Duchess of Cornwall during her visit to the tournament on 2 July.
One of the many interviews given by Imogen Davis accompanied by Rufus
|Stella Artois, as sponsors of the event, have made a series of adverts around Perfectionists at Wimbledon, and the second in the series stars Rufus who takes you through a day in the life of the fiercest member of the tennis tournament’s security team.
View the TV advert with Rufus.
For the two weeks of the championships Rufus becomes a star, but life for the other 50 weeks is not quite so glamorous – Westminster Abbey and the Royal Marsden hospital are other sites he patrols, but airfields and waste disposal dumps don’t sound quite so posh.
Avian Environmental Consultants have been looking after Wimbledon for the last 14 years, with Rufus taking on flying duties from the original incumbent, Hamish. Rufus preciously hit the headlines when he was stolen in 2012 from Imogen’s parked car, but subsequently returned.
Whilst this is all good publicity for pigeon management, it was a crying shame that not a single member of the BBC commentary team managed to identify ‘some little bird’ that decided to get in on the act on the opening day on centre court as it repeatedly landed and pecked the grass on the baseline! Doesn’t anyone recognise a blue tit?
Mingling wth royalty – Rufus meets the Duchess of Cornwall
All in a day’s work with the title sponsor
Not a pigeon but a blue tit. What would Rufus make of this invasion of his hallowed turf?