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Meet Rufus the Hawk, he has been keeping the pigeons off the Wimbledon court for 15 years

Wimbledon was graced by Rufus' presence 15th year in a row as he diligently performed his function on the ground.

Meet Rufus the Hawk, he has been keeping the pigeons off the Wimbledon court for 15 years
Image Source: Rufus the Hawk is seen on day seven of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 03, 2022 in London, England— Getty Images | Julian Finney

Wimbledon proved to be an exhilarating sporting event, captivating the attention of numerous celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Jonathan Bailey, Tom Hiddleston and Andrew Garfield. Amidst this star-studded gathering, it was Rufus the Hawk who truly stole the spotlight, shining brighter than any other. His responsibility was huge as his activities ensured that the game could go on, as per Good News Network. Rufus has been trained by a family of falconers for 2 decades which aids him to keep pigeons away when the game is being played. This is done so that the momentum of the game is not broken and the whole event goes on smoothly.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Imogen Davis and Rufus the Hawk pose for a portrait on Centre Court ahead of Day 5 of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 05, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Image Source: Imogen Davis and Rufus the Hawk pose for a portrait on Centre Court ahead of Day 5 of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 05, 2019, in London, England—Getty Images | Laurence Griffiths

Prior to Rufus, the hawk that was given the responsibility was Hamish. After Hamish's retirement, this job is being done by Rufus for 15 years. In the 42-day-long tournament, Rufus has to spend a few hours every morning scaring the pigeons away from the ground. In all probability, the pigeons enter the ground in order to roost at nighttime. The technique does not cause any harm to the pigeons, they are just scared. They are frightened by triggering in them a flight or fight response. This triggering is so intense that oftentimes it takes a long time for pigeons to recover from it, leading them to not visit the ground for many days.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Rufus the Harris Hawk flies over seats on centre court where it is used to scare away pigeons, ahead of play on day four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2015 in London, England. The 129th tournament to be hosted at Wimbledon is due to run for two weeks from Monday 29th June. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Image Source: Rufus the Harris Hawk flies over seats on the center court where it is used to scare away pigeons, ahead of play on day four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2015, in London, England. The 129th tournament to be hosted at Wimbledon is due to run for two weeks from Monday 29th June—Getty Images | Carl Court

The trend of having hawks remove the pigeons originated after a 1999 match featuring Pete Sampras. Donna Davis was shocked to see how the management was struggling with controlling the pigeons coming and disrupting the game in the middle. This gave Donna the idea to call the organizers and offer the services of her pet hawks. Since then there has been a collaboration between Donna and Wimbledon.

The process is simple. Donna or Imogen, another member of the Davis Family will start the day in Court No.1. Then they will clear the entirety of the court from pigeons that are on the ground in order to eat the grass seeds. There are small bells attached with Rufus which give the trainers the warning regarding where he might be heading. Of all his years in the tournament, the 2023 final must have been a special event for Rufus to witness. There have been some exceptional performances this year. But, the cherry on the cake was definitely the men's finals. The final was played between Novak Djokovic and world number one Carlos Alcaraz.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Imogen Davis (L) poses with Rufus the Hawk on day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2012 in London, England. Rufus the Hawk was paraded to the media after being recovered following a theft from a car. He will not resume his pigeon-scaring duties for today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Imogen Davis (L) poses with Rufus the Hawk on day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2012, in London, England. Rufus the Hawk was paraded to the media after being recovered following a theft from a car. He will not resume his pigeon-scaring duties for today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Popular support was clearly on Djokovik's side, but Alcaraz came out as the winner. It was a closely contested match between both rivals. Even during the 9th game of the 4th set, both the men had the same number of points in the match. After that Djokovic began to face trouble because of the slice and drop shots performed by Alcaraz, and lost the match. The Lady's Singles was not that thrilling for Rufus as Vondrousova easily won by coming victorious in back-to-back sets and took home the trophy with 6-4 points. This win made her the first unseeded player to reach the finals and win the trophy.



 

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