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August 21, 2013


A swan owned by the Queen has been found barbecued on the banks of the Thames in the shadow of Windsor Castle.

(Thanks to oneblankspace)


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Yuck. Did they find the fava beans and a nice Chianti?

Park wardens made the gruesome discovery in Windsor, Berkshire, at 3pm on Sunday, and called Swan Lifeline, which cares for sick or injured birds along the Thames.

I think they are a little to late to help that one.

Maybe someone of the British persuasion can clear up my confusion.

The Queen owns all swans in England (or the British Empire?) except for the ones owned by the Vintners and Dyers. How can you tell them apart? How do they know this was the Queen's swan. Did she brand them? Do they all carry out-of-fashion purses?

And who gave her blanket possession of nearly all of one of God's creatures in the first place?

And who are the Vintners and Dyers? And how powerful are they that the Queen can't take those swans with all the rest?

I'm telling you, this article just created more question than answers. I need to do some serious googling tonight.

There is no freaking reason why wild birds should be anyone's property. By all means prosecute this guy for killing an endangered species and for littering, but he did not break into Buckingham Palace. This law is a relic from the days of feudalism when all Britain save the nobles were slaves, and we couldn't have the rabble eating to survive. That wouldn't do, not when the king needed to hunt stuff for no apparent reason.

"David Barber, The Queen’s Swan Marker, said he was appalled by the incident."

I am fairly appalled that the Queen employs a "Swan Marker", whatever that is.

I suspect Gordon Ramsey. Dat's good eatin'.

Her Majesty should bring back drawing and quartering. Or painting and half-dollaring for serious offenses.

"The remains of the barbequed bird being cremated" belongs right up there with "the drowning victim was recovered, then buried at sea".

Excuse me Mr. Barry but the Queen is in Great Britian and not France. Time to back to school and this time pay attention in Geography class.

Not to put words in his mouth, but I believe Mr. Barry was referring to a hilarious jape, popular (except with Juliette) on this forum, in which France is said to go on high alert or even surrender whenever something happens in a nearby country. Mr. Barry has actually been to the UK and probably does know where the Queen lives. I think.

"The Queen owns all swans in England (or the British Empire?) except for the ones owned by the Vintners and Dyers. How can you tell them apart?"
All of the birds belong to the sovereign, except the ones marked by leg rings. They used to notch the bills of the birds, one for one group, two for the other. See wikipedia for more on Swan Upping.
Elon, with respect, the fact that the birds belong to the crown is equivalent to (and arguably better than) listing them as endangered. As crown property, they are legally protected from hunting and other harm, and the fact that this is a news story shows how unusual it is for someone to break this law. Prior to this arrangement the swans were in danger of being hunted to extinction in England -- a classic example of the tragedy of the commons.

Sorry, I fouled up my links. Royal site for swan upping, and wikipedia.

If they catch the guy, his goose is cooked.

FWIW - These are mute swans with clipped wings, who are fed and cared for in what is essentially a public park. They get rounded up and put into a warm enclosure during the coldest winter weather. Not really wild birds. The Queen's marker catches all the cygnets and bands them. I can't imagine what the Vintners & Dyers want with swans anyway.

Thanks, Cap'n, for the explanation! (seriously)

But this American of Scottish descent cannot fathom this whole sovereign ownership of wildlife thing. It's just contrary to my independent, freedom-loving, commoner upbringing. There's no doubt the American part of me has a lot to do with it. But, if I know my history, I'm guessing the Scottish part of me has a problem with it, too.

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