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Before the day's matches start at Wimbledon, Rufus the Hawk is dispatched by his trainer to patrol the skies over the courts and chase away any problematic birds.
Rufus the Hawk is a Harris Hawk that is used to deter pigeons from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club during the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, England. Rufus has been trained to fly around the grounds during the tournament, scaring away pigeons and other birds that might distract the players or disrupt the matches.
Rufus has been a fixture at Wimbledon since 1999, and has become something of a celebrity in his own right. He even has his own Twitter account, where fans can keep up with his activities during the tournament.
Rufus the Hawk is cared for by a professional falconer named Imogen Davis, who has been working with birds of prey for over 25 years. She is responsible for training Rufus and ensuring that he is healthy and well-fed during the tournament.
While Rufus is primarily used to scare away pigeons, he has also been known to make an appearance on the courts during the tournament. In 2012, he made headlines when he landed on the head of a spectator during a match between Venus Williams and Elena Vesnina.
Rufus has also been the subject of several children's books, including "Rufus the Hawk: A Wimbledon Tale" and "Rufus the Hawk: The Wimbledon Finals." These books tell the story of Rufus and his adventures at the tournament, and are popular among young fans of Wimbledon.
The use of Rufus and other birds of prey is part of a larger effort to maintain the grounds at Wimbledon, which are known for their pristine condition. By keeping pigeons and other birds away, the club can ensure that the players and spectators have a comfortable and distraction-free experience.
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Tennis: "Rufus the Hawk Keeps Wimbledon Pigeon-Free"