Lifestyle & Belief

Rufus the Wimbledon hawk stolen


Rufus, Wimbledon's resident Harris Hawk keeps the courts pigeon free on Day Seven of the championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2009 in London, England.


Ian Walton

Rufus, a hawk being used to patrol skies and deter pigeons from the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, has been stolen.

A Harris hawk, Rufus was stolen with his cage sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning from a car parked in a private driveway in the suburb of Wimbledon, reported the Associated Press. One of the car's rear windows had been left open for ventilation.

According to the Press Association, Rufus is also a family pet, and his owners are very worried about him.

"The family has become very attached to the bird who is now four-and-a-half years old," said a police spokesman to the PA. "They are distressed over the theft and are appealing for help to recover the bird."

Rufus has become a fixture at the southwest London All England Club, where visitors often stop to ask for photos with the hawk, reported the Daily Mail. He even has his own Twitter account, where his last tweet before going missing was just before Rafael Nadal was eliminated from the tournament, and said: "Murray is through, Rafa is down 2-1 (!), Ward played brilliantly but lost to Mardy Fish, and Italy are beating Germany 1-0!"

Owner Imogen Davis, 25, said the family was still in shock after Rufus's disappearance, reported the PA.

"It's really, really sad," she said. "He was taken in his traveling box, which is where he sleeps because it's nice and dark and cool and he can fall asleep in there. We're very, very shocked. We just want to know he's okay."

According to the AP, hawks have been used to clear Wimbledon skies during the tournament for about 12 years. Rufus flies above the courts every morning and evening while the tournament is on, but does not fly during matches because players could be distracted.

More from GlobalPost: Wimbledon 2012: Rafael Nadal loses, for once