Every year the swans on the Thames River are caught, examined, and tagged in an annual census conducted by the Royal Swan Keepers and the Vintners’ and Dyers’ Livery Companies. The process will begin on Monday, July 14, in Sunbury and end on Friday July 18 at Abingdon, Oxon.
David Barber, The Queen’s Swan Marker, hopes to find an increase in the number of cygnets:
“There have been reports of many successful breeding pairs with larger broods than normal, which is extremely positive news after several years of decreasing cygnet numbers…All cygnets and parent birds are checked for injuries during Swan Upping week and treated accordingly.”
Since the 12th century, the Crown owns all mute swans in the Realm, though the Queen only asserts this right on parts of the Thames. Long ago, swans were a delicacy on the dining table, but they are no longer eaten.
In 2009, for the first time in centuries, the monarch observed Swan Upping.
Here is the official announcement for 2014.
The History of Swan Upping and a video explaining the annual ceremonies is here
More history of Swan Upping is here.
Victoria here, bringing you some pictures of royal mute swans. I took these a while ago.