26 Of The Queen’s Swans Culled By Vets After Catching Bird Flu

by : Shola Lee on :
26 Of The Queen's Swans Culled By Vets After Catching Bird FluAlamy

More than two dozen of the Queen’s swans have had to be humanely culled after they contracted bird flu.

After six swans were found lifeless on the Thames at Windsor earlier this month, professionals from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) were called.


In total, 26 swans had to be culled at the Swan Lifeline rescue centre, a mile from Windsor Castle. According to reports, there are between 150 and 200 swans in the 3km ‘at-risk’ zone in the surrounding area.

Swans (PA Images)PA Images

The at-risk zone will be in place for at least three weeks but could go on longer if more infected birds are discovered.

According to David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker, her majesty has been ‘fully updated’ about the situation. A spokesperson declined to comment on the situation but it is said the Queen is ‘saddened’ by the news.


Wendy Hammond from Swan Support told The Sun: ‘It is a nightmare and could end up a disaster. I know the Queen always shows great concern for her flock of swans.’

The charity further spoke about the 26 swans that were culled.

They said, per BBC News:

Defra sent a team and a vet to humanely put to sleep the 26 swans we were still caring for since the outbreak. This action prevented the swans from the horrific and lethal effects of the virus and also protected other river wild fowl from potentially catching the virus.


Paul Roach, who is the town manager for Windsor and Maidenhead Council’s trading standards team, is helping lead the response to prevent birdkeepers from being infected.

Swans (PA)PA Images

He said:

The primary aim is to try and prevent birds from flocking together. I know what everybody is thinking, how do you keep swans socially distancing?

There is no answer to that but that’s what we’re trying to do to make sure we’re not encouraging them to come together.


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While officials have insisted that it is rare for humans to contract the disease from the birds, Alan Gosling from Buckfastleigh tested positive after his flock became infected earlier this year.

He is said to have been ‘absolutely broken-hearted’ that his flock had to be culled on New Year’s Day.

The outbreak has continued to spread, and Birmingham City Council recently announced that the flu was found in geese at some of the city parks, while there have also been reports of the flu being found in two birds in Cheshire.

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: Animals, Now, The Queen, UK


BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    Bird flu: Windsor swans culled as England outbreak spreads

  2. The Sun

    MORE ROYAL AGONY The Queen’s swans struck down with bird flu with vets having to cull 26 at Windsor to stop the disease from spreading