Swan Upping 2021

Published

Swan Upping, the annual census of the swan population on the River Thames will take place for three days in July 2021. 

Swan Upping will commence on Tuesday 20th July from Eton Bridge, Berkshire and will finish at Moulsford on Thames, Oxfordshire on Thursday 22nd July. 

Announcing the schedule for Swan Upping 2021, The Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber commented: 

“Members of the public have been extremely observant during the Covid-19 lockdown and have reported many injured swans. This has enabled them to be rescued and treated promptly which has avoided unnecessary suffering. 

“This year, the breeding season has been successful in terms of cygnet numbers and there has been a decrease in the number of dog attacks on swan nests reported. However, we have seen a vast increase in the incidence of pollution on the river over the same period; engine and diesel oil deposited in the water along with other debris and pollutants cause serious problems for swans and other water borne wildlife. These situations are entirely avoidable and have a devastating impact upon both the wildlife and the environment.” 

As well as the conservation work that Swan Upping encompasses, Swan Uppers continue to focus on the education of primary age children. Several primary schools will therefore join the Swan Uppers on the river where they will learn about the biology of mute swans, the impact of pollution and the Royal connection to swans. 

Local schools seeking further information about Swan Upping should contact the Swan Marker’s Office on 01628 523030 or email [email protected]

The observation points and times are as follows, (please note all timings are approximate): 

Tuesday 20th July 2021 

Eton Bridge – 08.30 (Departure point) Boveney Lock – 09.15

Boulters Lock – 12.30

Cookham Bridge – 13.15 

Marlow Lock – 17.30 

Wednesday 21st July 2021

Marlow Bridge – 09.00 (Departure point)

Hurley Lock – 10.30

Hambleden Lock – 12.15

Henley Bridge – 13.00 

Marsh Lock – 15.15

Shiplake Lock – 17.00

Sonning Bridge – 18.00 

Thursday 22nd July 2021 

Sonning Bridge – 08.45 (Departure point) Caversham Lock – 10.15

Mapledurham Lock – 12.30

Goring Lock – 16.15 

Moulsford – 17.15 

Press Boat 

The press boat will depart from Eton Bridge at 8.30 am on Tuesday 20th July, Marlow Bridge at 09.00 am on Wednesday 21st July and Sonning Bridge at 8.45 am on Thursday 22nd July. Media wishing to reserve a place to board the press boat should contact the Swan Marker’s Office on +44 (0)1628 523030 or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors 

The ceremony of Swan Upping takes place during the third week of July every year. Swan Upping dates from the twelfth century, when The Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans which were considered an important food for banquets and feasts. Today The Crown retains the right of ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but The Queen mainly exercises this right on certain stretches of the River Thames and its surrounding tributaries. This ownership is shared with the Vintners' and Dyers' Livery Companies who were granted rights of ownership by The Crown in the fifteenth century. 

The Queen's Swan Marker and the accompanying Swan Uppers of the Vintners' and Dyers' Livery Companies use six traditional Thames rowing skiffs in their journey upstream. By tradition scarlet uniforms are worn by The Queen's Swan Marker and Swan Uppers, and each boat flies the appropriate flag and pennant. In recent years, both The Queen and The Princess Royal have travelled up the River Thames to witness the historic ceremony. 

It has always been the duty of the Sovereign’s Swan Marker to count the number of young cygnets each year and ensure that the swan population is maintained. The cygnets are weighed and measured to obtain estimates of growth rates and the birds are examined for any sign of injury, commonly caused by fishing hook and line. With the assistance of The Queen’s Swan Warden, Professor Christopher Perrins of the University of Oxford, the swans and young cygnets are also assessed for any signs of disease. The cygnets are ringed with individual identification numbers by The Queen's Swan Warden, whose role is scientific and non-ceremonial. The Queen's Swan Marker produces an annual report after Swan Upping detailing the number of swans, broods and cygnets counted during the week. 

The Queen's Swan Marker also advises organisations throughout the country about swan welfare and incidents involving swans, gives talks to local schools and charities on the subject of swan welfare and Swan Upping, and monitors the health of the local swan population. The Queen’s Swan Marker works closely with swan rescue organisations, supervises the rescue of sick and injured swans and advises fishing and boating organisations about how to work with wildlife. 

 

Related content

Feature

Mourning

Information about National and Royal Mourning

A message from Her Majesty The Queen to mark Greece's Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations

On the significant occasion of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek War of Independence, I would like to convey to Your Excellency my congratulations, together...

25 March 2021

A message of condolence from Her Majesty The Queen to the people of Tanzania

Prince Philip and I were saddened to learn of the death of President John Magufuli. I wish to convey my condolences to his loved ones and my deepest sympathy to the people of...

19 March 2021

The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message 2021

Stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory.

07 March 2021

The tenth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquakes

While there are many sad memories of that terrible time, there is also solace in remembering how your community rose to the challenge of rebuilding your lives and supporting...

22 February 2021
News

A Royal Recipe for Pancakes

16 February 2021
News

#PoWNatureChallenge

15 February 2021
Press release 05 February 2021

Lord Parker of Minsmere KCB appointed as Lord Chamberlain

Read more

A speech by The Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal Foundation's Forum on the Early Years

The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of her ambition to put the Early Years on an equal footing with the other great social challenges and opportunities of our time during an...

27 November 2020
News

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

27 January 2021

The Christmas Broadcast 2020

Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer. Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of...

24 December 2020
Feature

The Royal Chefs' Gingerbread House

Find out how to make a spectacular Christmas treat from the chefs at the Royal Household
Press release 16 December 2020

The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2020

Read more
Feature

The Royal Train Tour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pay tribute to inspiring people across the UK
Feature

The Reservicing of the Picture Gallery

Find out more about the work being carried out on the home
Feature

The Duchess of Cambridge reveals the results of her 5 Big Questions survey

The Duchess of Cambridge reveals the results of her 5 Big Questions survey
Press release 22 November 2020

The Queen’s Medal for Music 2020

Read more
Press release 09 November 2020

The Queen's message to countries affected by Hurricane Eta

Read more
News

Remembrance 2020

02 November 2020
Feature

The Duchess of Edinburgh’s work to support women in conflict around the world

The Duchess of Edinburgh: Women, Peace and Security agenda
News

World Sight Day 2020

14 October 2020
Feature

The Princess of Wales' work on the Early Years

More about Princess of Wales' work on the impact of experiences in early childhood
Press release 25 September 2020

Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank expecting a baby

Read more
Media pack

Financial reports 2019-20

The Royal Household today published its annual financial statement, the Sovereign Grant Report, for the financial year 2019-20. The Sovereign Grant is the funding provided to...