Updated: xx Aug 2020
HELLO! I AM A CYGNET
You may remember that last month my little friend hoglet told you a little bit about his life. We first met last week in an Oxfordshire nature reserve and he suggested that you nice Oxfordshire U3Aers might like to hear a little about me. Of course there was no "hognobing" and no "cygnet rings" were exchanged. We are “just good friends”.
I was born not long ago in a nest in a quiet part of the Thames which I share with my mum and dad and two siblings. My parents have told me lots about what to expect in life including the fact that we swans are very peaceful people, but I remember on one occasion when my dad saw off an inquisitive fox with his hissing and threatening wing flapping. It was all for show of course. We do not attack humans, so it is a fallacy to say that we break people's arms with our wings. Another funny thing is that you humans call us mute swans when we are not mute at all. Admittedly we are not very musical but we make gurgling and grunting sounds, but of course that is nothing compared to my cousins the whooper and trumpeter swans.
I have two great ambitions in life: the first is to become a beautiful white swan gliding in all my glory down the Thames being admired for my grace and serenity.
My second is to be "upped". This ceremony, which started in the 13th century usually takes place during the third week of July and lasts five days "upping" from Sunbury lock to Abingdon. The Queen’s men dress up in their amazing scarlet blazers and set off in their beautiful rowing skiffs. There are also boats from the Worshipful Dyers and Vintners companies, who each have a share in the ownership of the swans but all unmarked ones are by default owned by the Queen. We are captured and ringed if necessary and after a quick health check we are relaunched into the water with our heads held high with pride.
Yes! You humans are good to us in the main.
Long may we all enjoy our wonderful river - the Thames!!