- Title: Census of Queen's Elizabeth's swans takes place on River Thames
- Date: 20th July 2021
- Summary: WINDSOR, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 20, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BOATS ON THE RIVER THAMES A CYGNET (BABY SWAN) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WITH SWANS ON BOATS BOATS BEING DOCKED (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWAN MARKER TO THE QUEEN, DAVID BARBER, SAYING: "Swan upping dates right back to the 12th century when, of course, swans then were a very, very important food, and they were served up at banquets and feasts. Of course, today swan upping is all about conservation and education. Like today, we are travelling up the river, three days of swan upping. Every family of swans we come across we will lift out of the water, we will take the cygnets ashore, we will weigh them, we will measure them, and we will check them for any injuries. A lot of the injuries we find are fishing tackle injuries, where young cygnets get caught in fishing tackle, but we can usually take the fishing tackle off when we have them ashore there." SWAN BEING BROUGHT INTO THE SHADE VARIOUS OF SWANS BEING WEIGHED AND TAGGED VARIOUS OF SWAN MARKER TO THE QUEEN, DAVID BARBER, WITH SWANS CYGNET BEING WEIGHED NOTEBOOK (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWAN MARKER TO THE QUEEN, DAVID BARBER, SAYING: "We see the swans time and time again, and they do mate for life. People always ask this question, do they mate for life? Yes they do, but I often say that some sort of stray off - a little bit like humans. But yes, if they do stray off then they find another partner." VARIOUS OF BOATS PASSING THROUGH LOCK VARIOUS OF BOATS ON THE WATER (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWAN MARKER TO THE QUEEN, DAVID BARBER, SAYING: "They are large birds to deal with, as you can probably see today when we're out on the water. Adult birds, they can weigh up to 15 kilos, they have a wingspan of two-and-a-half metres - approaching two-and-a-half metres. So they are quite a large bird to deal with." VARIOUS OF SWANS BEING MEASURED, WEIGHED AND TAGGED SWAN BEING PUT BACK IN WATER VARIOUS OF SWANS ON WATER ((SOUNDBITE) (English) SWAN MARKER TO THE QUEEN, DAVID BARBER, SAYING: "We've had more shootings and pollution problems in this last year than we've ever, ever had before. The shootings, I think, really is because youngsters can go into a shop and buy an air rifle, they go down to the river, they see a big white target - bang! And it's appalling, but we are sort of trying to fight against that." VARIOUS OF SWANS BEING ROUNDED UP REFLECTION OF FLAG IN WATER
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2021 17:03
- Keywords: Queen Elizabeth River Thames census royal family swans
- Location: WINDSOR, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: WINDSOR, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Environment,Europe,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA001EMNBVPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Royal officials clad in scarlet outfits took to the River Thames in traditional boats on Tuesday (July 20) for the annual "Swan Upping" ceremony - an 800-year-old tradition of counting the swans owned by Britain's monarch.
Teams in old fashioned skiffs will row up a stretch of the river over the next five days to carry out the annual census of the birds, shouting "all up" when they come across a mute swan and its family of young cygnets.
The ancient ceremony dates back to the 12th century when the English crown first claimed ownership of all mute swans, which have long curved necks, orange beaks and white feathers.
At the time they were considered a delicacy and would be served at lavish banquets.
The annual event had to be cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Queen Elizabeth shares ownership of mute swans on the Thames with the old trade associations of the Vintners and Dyers, who also join in the upping.
However, the monarch retains the right of ownership of all unmarked mute swans swimming in open waters, although this is mainly exercised on certain stretches of the Thames.
(Production: Natalie Thomas)
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