SPORTS
06/23/2014 12:32 pm ET Updated Jun 24, 2014

A Tribute To Rufus The Hawk, 'Protecting' Wimbledon From Pigeons

Wimbledon is the perfect place for crowds of people to gather for a sporting event, but some of our feathered friends (pigeons, ahem ahem) have other ideas on how to make better use of these perfect roosting grounds. As a result, Wimbledon has been plagued by "unwanted" visitors for over a decade.

Luckily, the Wimbledon staff has a very special member of security on its side with a real hawk-eye.

Rufus is a woodland hawk who has been keeping watch over the grounds to make sure no one steps on his turf, unless invited. Handled by falconer, Imogen Davis, the one-pound, six-ounce hawk patrols the skies from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., letting the pigeons know they are not welcomed.

"Two years ago he was stolen, which was the biggest disaster I could ever predict," Davis told The Telegraph. "...The press attention must have frightened the thief because Rufus was returned on the Sunday, but it was the worst weekend imaginable and I don’t let him out of my sight now."

Wimbledon has been using hawks for pest control for over a decade. The video above, presented by The Perfectionists for Stella Artois, pays tribute to Rufus and acknowledges his hard work and contributions to making Wimbledon run without any ruffled feathers.

CORRECTION: This article initially stated that the 6-year-old Rufus has been keeping the skies clear for more than 10 years, which is in fact how long hawks more generally have been patrolling the stadium.

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