"We got a call yesterday. Someone had taken him, obviously got fed up with him and left him in Wimbledon Park," said owner Wayne Davis.
His handler Imogen Davis was beside herself with relief.
"We were ecstatic," she told BBC Television as Rufus posed proudly for the viewers.
In a country where pets are as big an obsession as discussing the weather, Rufus has become an instant celebrity.
After vets checked him over and gave him a bath, the hawk perched on Imogen's arm with his Wimbledon accreditation badge marked; "Rufus: Bird Scarer."
The only problem is that he has been over-cosseted since his safe return. He is too full of food to fly but the Davis family reported he will be back on patrol again on Tuesday.
- Related links