Hawk at Work

Rufus the Harris Hawk in action with our latest recruit.

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

Watching the wild Peregrine falcons  on the Barclays building at Canary Wharf. Male (tiercel sitting on the ledge above the female).The male has started into a hunting stoop  followed by the female towards the Milleniun Dome.

Dismal morning in the middle of a cloud 600 ft +. A female Peregrine Falcon hunting over the Docklands brightens things up though !!

Rufus the male Harris Hawk works for The All Enngland Lawn Tennis Club to prevent habituation by Feral Pigeons.The programme is carried out all round year with intensive coverage during the Wimbledon Championships.

 

Finegan the Gyr /Saker enjoying a bath after a long flight detering Gulls from  a site in west London.

Finegan the gyr/saker falcon

Finegan the gyr/saker falcon taking a bath

The young male Merlin we have been training is ready for his  first free flight.He has been trained at the Thames water Hampton site which is in  west London .We have developed a bird control programme on the site to deter large numbers of roosting Gulls from the filter beds

Rufus the Harris  Hawk has been active at The All England Lawn Tennis Club for the past eleven days of the tennis tournament deterring pigeons from centre court. An early riser, flying over the  roof at 6.00 am. crufus the hawkausing a bit of a flap in the media maelstrom!!