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Mute Swan: Birds of Britain

Posted in Animals, Bible, Wildlife on Monday, 31 January 2011

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Mute Swan – Birds of Britain

Custom dating back before Elizabeth I dictates that all mute swans on the Thames belong to the Sovereign. Only swans marked in the upper bill in the ceremony of “upping” are owned by two livery companies, the Dyers and Vintners. These majestic birds are not completely mute, for they do snort and hiss when annoyed.  Male mute swans can be very fierce, and stage spectacular battles, their vast wings arched and graceful necks drawn back. The victor’s heavy orange bill with its black knob at the base pecks at the head and neck of the loser.

This edited article originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 901 published on 28 April 1979. Click on a picture to find out more about licensing images for commercial or personal/educational use. We are also able to license textual material. Please contact us for details.

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