What do swans, nifty uniforms, conservation, and Her Majesty the Queen of England have in common? The answer: the annual Swan Upping.

What, you ask, is the Swan Upping?

The annual Swan Upping, held on the third week of July, is a ceremonial census taken every year of the Mute Swan population living on a stretch of the River Thames. The Swan Upping began in the 12th Century when the British Crown claimed rule over all unmarked Mute Swans in open water in the United Kingdom. This made the British Monarch “Seigneur of the Swans”. As time passed, the Crown gave up ownership over the entire swan population. Now, the Crown only claims those living on a stretch of the River Thames and some of its tributaries.

Here’s a video from The Vintner’s Company detailing the history and process of the Swan Upping, as well as those nifty uniforms.

Via: 1

While the tradition itself is wonderful in its theatrics and history, the Swan Upping speaks to what happens when conservation becomes a part of culture.

In modern times, the Swan Upping has become a more scientific survey. It both collects vital data on the swan population and educates people on the effects humans have on their population.

Because of its work, when the swan population began a serious decline in the mid-1980s, regulations and conservation efforts were put into place that have led to a bounce-back in the population.

The Upping is a rare time when conservation is given the pomp and circumstance it deserves. Perhaps we don’t need a cavalcade of blazer bedecked scientists heading off into our streams in little wooden boats. Even so, we should treat the work they do with the same respect.

If we considered all species like the animals important to our national heritage–the swans of England, or the bald eagle of the United States–we could retain some of the species that make this earth such a beautiful and diverse place, and pass on to the next generation a globe with all of its wonders intact.

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” -Victor Borge

Want to check out a little more positive news, fun or insights?

Head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Or, simply scroll down this page to find a few more incredible articles like this one!

Support us on Patreon!    or…    Check out our library!

Notes:

  1. The Vintner’s Company. “Introduction to Swan Upping-Swan Life.”YouTube. The Vintner’s Company, 8 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MQ_GyEoUiE>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

In this Circle

You’re Probably More Like a Crow than You Thought

25 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

These birds probably live near you, but have you ever noticed just how intelligent they are? No? Well, you’re in for a treat.
Read More

A Closer Look at the Dinosaurs with Us Now!

8 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Are dinosaurs still around today? You probably know that birds and dinosaurs are evolutionary cousins, but do you know how we know that? Here's a deeper look at a piece of knowledge we might normally take for granted!
Read More

A Bird that Sings Like a Dog… And a Camera?

8 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Have you ever heard the song of the lyrebird? These strange birds take the sounds of dogs, cameras, chainsaws, and other birds to create their mating calls!
Read More

A River of Raptors

20 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

If we are looking for inspiration and hope these days, we may only have to look up to find it! There is a river of wonder going unnoticed above us, showing us how the health of our planet is holding up. And thankfully, there's an amazing group of people bringing us these insights.
Read More

It’s Raining Bones! (And That’s a Good Thing!)

10 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

When it comes to animals doing good in the world, vultures may not instantly come to mind. But bearded vultures are some of nature's most underappreciated creatures!
Read More

Pigeons Light Up the Night Sky

7 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What happens when the sky is filled with thousands of pigeons carrying LED lights? The artist Duke Riley is reframing these creatures in a more favorable light and along the way inspiring a little wonder in us all...
Read More

Ghosts in the Night: How Owls Fly Silently

12 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Have you ever wondered how owls fly silently? There's more to it than you may think! These remarkable creatures are yet another example how nature never ceases to amaze us.
Read More

Meet a Living Dinosaur: The Giant Cassowary

7 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Is it possible to find a living dinosaur in some far off corner of the globe? It is if you count the extraordinary, enormous bird called a cassowary!
Read More

How the Flamingo Got Its Pink

5 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Did you know flamingos are not born with their vibrant plumage? Their beautiful plumage is actually the result of some pretty incredible science and the remarkable ways nature has evolved to find its way!
Read More

Puffins: Ready for Their Close Up!

4 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

How can a plush toy help us capture nature at its best? Here's a whole new look at puffins (the other amazing black and white bird), and how we are filming their lives up-close!
Read More

Turning Birds Into Dinosaurs

12 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Is turning birds into dinosaurs possible? Creating the dino-chicken isn't just a scientific dream. The science behind the project is already a reality!
Read More

The Secret Life of the Snowy Owl

9 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What if we could fly along with the snowy owl as it made its migration? An NPR team decided to follow the remarkable journey of Baltimore, the most studied snowy owl in history, to get a glimpse at what the lives of these mysterious creatures looks like!
Read More

Using Bird Vomit to Uncover History!

9 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

How can owl pellets help us make conservation decisions? It turns out a little bit of gross science can have a big impact! And it's actually pretty cool!
Read More

The Unbelievable World of the Birds-of-Paradise

18 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Deep in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea are some of the most unique birds in the world. Check out the expedition that set out to photograph and study them all!
Read More

The Grand History of the Humble Pigeon

8 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Why should we appreciate the humble pigeon a little more? It turns out, pigeons are actually much smarter than we give them credit for, not to mention we share a rich history!
Read More

Pollination: Beauty and Key to Life

15 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Here's one of the most fundamental, yet unappreciated processes on earth, filmed in a breathtaking, fascinating and curious way. You'll never look at an apple or flower the same way again!
Read More

The Evolution of Flight

45 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Only 4 times in the history of animal evolution did creatures take to a completely new element. After water and land,... they took to the air! The evolution of how and why is amazing, and the photography breathtaking!
Read More

Swan Upping: The Ceremony of Conservation

10 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What do swans, nifty uniforms, conservation, and Her Majesty the Queen of England have in common?
Read More