LONDON, United Kingdom – I was very lucky to run into Rufus the Hawk briefly this morning at Wimbledon. His is the most important job on the grounds: He scares pigeons and other birds away from the courts and players.
Rufus took over his duties five years ago from Hamish the Hawk. His tenure has not been without controversy. The predator became prey two years ago when kidnappers abducted him from a parked car. Missing for three days, Rufus reappeared.
Could the pigeons have been behind the bigger, badder bird’s forced departure? Rufus, stoically silent, refuses to play stool pigeon.
Rufus exudes majesty and beauty up close. He wears a security badge that says “Bird Scarer” and wins the popularity contest with the crowds. Humans line up to take their picture with the one-pound, six-ounce aviator. Winged creatures are another matter.
Rufus performs his job so well that he scares birds away from Westminster Abbey, too. Hopefully, we’ll meet again for another interspecies summit. Until then, it would be improper to interrupt the most important worker at Wimbledon.