Rufus the Hawk is ready for Wimbledon

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Rufus the hawk flys regular patrols at Westminster abbey, Fulham ICR and Wimbledon AELTC.

The essence of the patrol Rufus works in, at the varying sites, is a type of ‘Environmentally friendly Bird control’. He patrols to deter the pigeons from roosting, thus providing an active biological deterrent.
Falconry is one of the most ancient of arts, with Chinese references to hunting with Goshawks going back to the 5th century BC.

Wayne David, Rufus’s trainer, trained his first falcon 13 years old. A humble Kestrel called Jessica This was the beginning of a lifetime of working with these most enigmatic of birds.He says, “Rufus began his relationship with me in the time honoured art of Falconry. The first part of the training is called “manning”. In simple terms accustoming the hawk to this strange environment he has entered into. These days Hawks and Falcons are captive bred, and so therefore they are taken out of the breeding aviary. At this stage , the hawk has had no interaction with humans. You may be familiar with the term ‘hoodwinked’. It originates from the medieval period and used in a similar way to the expression ‘to pull the wool over your eyes’.

He says, “Rufus began his relationship with me in the time honoured art of Falconry. The first part of the training is called “manning”. In simple terms accustoming the hawk to this strange environment he has entered into. These days Hawks and Falcons are captive bred, and so therefore they are taken out of the breeding aviary. At this stage , the hawk has had no interaction with humans. You may be familiar with the term ‘hoodwinked’. It originates from the medieval period and used in a similar way to the expression ‘to pull the wool over your eyes’.Essentially the hood covers the hawk’s eyes. This allows the trainers to manage the hawk’s initial fear of us. Through a combination of patience and time the hawk learns to trust you. Once this stage has been overcome the rest of the training can begin.

Essentially the hood covers the hawk’s eyes. This allows the trainers to manage the hawk’s initial fear of us. Through a combination of patience and time the hawk learns to trust you. Once this stage has been overcome the rest of the training can begin.Rufus began his working career at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. Filming for Blue Peter! No pressure here then. And true to the adage ‘never work with animals and children’. Rufus flew up to the stadium roof and refused to come down much to the consternation of the children and the camera crew.

Rufus began his working career at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. Filming for Blue Peter! No pressure here then. And true to the adage ‘never work with animals and children’. Rufus flew up to the stadium roof and refused to come down much to the consternation of the children and the camera crew.
The hawks are flown in the environments they are going work in. This prolongs the training process as there are so many distractions.

Rufus is quite a celebrity at Wimbledon. He even has his own picture pass for the championships which he attends every day, from an unearthly hour of 5am -9am.
On a more serious note Rufus is an amazing ambassador for the perception of Raptors. Indeed he has his own twitter account: @rufusthehawk

Westminster Abbey is one of the most amazing places Rufus flies in. You can tangibly feel the history around you. When we do internal patrols, we scale the narrow spiral staircase to the triforium (upper level) home of the great organ and usually some pigeons which manage to gain access. On the external patrols we often come across wild Peregrine falcons which breed on the adjacent Palace of Westminster.

Rufus is the star of our ‘Falconry & Feasting’ days we hold at our home: The Old Lodge Farm in Northamptonshire.

Avian Environmental Consultants
www.avianenvironmental.co.uk

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