Human Interest

Swan Uppers take stock of Queen’s birds on Thames

Madrid Desk, Jul 22 (EFE).- The annual census of the swan population on the river Thames, known as Swan Upping, concluded on Thursday as swans and young cygnets belonging to Queen Elizabeth II were lined up for review.

The ceremony involves the Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber and his team of Swan Uppers, who catch the birds and check them for any signs of disease or injuries.

They also weigh and measure the cygnets and their beaks to feed a database used to obtain estimates of growth rates.

The custom dates back to the 12th century, when the British Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans, at the time considered an important delicacy to delight guests at banquets and feasts.

The census is traditionally undertaken during the third week of July every year but did not take place in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Swan Upping took place for three days as the team made its way through different stretches of the river, starting Tuesday from Eton Bridge and finishing Thursday at Moulsford on Thames, Oxfordshire.


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