In the United Kingdom, you may eat ducks, chickens, geese, but NOT swans—NOT EVER. Why? Because all swans in the UK can belong to Queen Elizabeth II, and are officially protected. Every year in England since the 12th century, the queen’s swan marker and his crew of “swan uppers” ride London’s River Thames in search of swans that belong to Her Majesty. They do this to count the elegant birds and give them a proper royal check-up. The dedicated crew traverses around 79 miles of river in six rowing skiffs in order to weigh, measure and check these noble birds for injuries or diseases.