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British queen orders annual swan count

BRITAIN'S Queen Elizabeth is preparing to have her swans counted.

Buckingham Palace has announced that the annual Swan Upping, a tradition dating back to the 12th century that involves a census of the swan population on the River Thames, will be conducted from July 20-24.

The process involves a Swan Marker rowing up the Thames for five days with the Swan Warden in traditional skiffs, wearing scarlet uniforms and counting, weighing and measuring swans and cygnets.

According to custom, Britain's sovereign owns all unmarked, mute swans in open water, but the queen now exercises the right only on stretches of the Thames and its nearby tributaries.


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