12723037-largeTechnology has its part to play at the Wimbledon tennis championships but it isn’t about to replace one important high-flying job.

Rufus the hawk is to keep his role scaring off pigeons around the SW19 event after his owners rejected suggestions a drone could take his place.

The Harris hawk is a regular visitor to the All England Lawn Tennis Club where he has been keeping feathered pests away for the last seven years.

Rufus’s owner Imogen Davis said drones do not have the “predatory instinct” of a bird of prey.

She said: “Pigeons would simply get used to them and become accustomed to them. Rufus is a predator, drones are not.”

Reaching speeds of up to 30mph, eight-year-old Rufus has been making weekly visits to the south-west London venue over the past 12 months.

He will step up to daily 5am patrols when the highlight of the British tennis calendar begins on Monday.

The Harris hawk, who has his own Twitter page and pass to enter Wimbledon, can also be found scaring off pigeons at Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham football club, as well as Westminster Abbey and Billingsgate Fish Market.

Rufus hit the headlines three years ago when he was stolen from a car overnight during Wimbledon.

After widespread media coverage, the bird of prey was handed in to the RSPCA a few days later.


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