The only time I can forgive getting up in the middle of the night is when I’m going on holiday, so last Saturday, when my alarm started beeping at the unsavoury hour of 4am I woke up completely confused. That was until the ‘I’m-still-half-asleep’ fog lifted and I remembered the early bird start was thanks to Rufus the Hawk’s lucky apprentice for the day – early start forgiven.
London must have been enjoying its weekend lie in as the streets and roads were eerily deserted and the drive down was a breeze, arriving at our first spot before 7am. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, it was a cold and crystal clear morning. Rufus, ever the professional, gave me a bird’s eye tour of the city from the rooftops and left me humming chim-chiminey (although health and safety forbade breaking into a Mary Poppin’s rooftop tap).
The day didn’t go without drama, as a mere amateur in the bird patrol I was oblivious to the gathering enemy; a murder of crows, circling, cawing and attempting to intimidate the lone ranger Rufus. Experienced Rufus didn’t let them ruffle his feathers, calmly swooping back to the glove on my hand – problem was that with the sun behind him and the murder of 50 plus crows in tow I couldn’t distinguish between friend and foe, so fearing the worst (scenes from ‘The Birds’ playing in my head) I decided dropping to the floor was definitely the safest option.
Drama averted, it was time to be introduced to Rufus’s prodigy Atlas. Compared to his mentor, Atlas doesn’t yet command the haughty air of power and knowledge like Rufus. Atlas, just 6 months old and very new to the game and a little scruffy with a raucous, high pitched squawk; but seeing him in action there is no doubt that given a little more time, he will form a dream team with his flying mate Rufus.
A fantastic day all round was had with London’s top bird patroller, keeping the skies pest free at some of London’s top locations, what an impressive CV!
Key lessons learnt:
- Hawk’s love their own reflections
- Having a bird on your arm will get you noticed (top tourist attraction for the day – I wonder how many photo album’s Rufus stars in?)
- The early bird really does catch the worm!
Thanks Rufus and Team! xx