Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Oldest swan in UK to celebrate 30th birthday at Leeds Castle in Kent – with cake and bird friends

A famous resident of the grounds of Leeds Castle in Kent is set to celebrate a milestone birthday.

Pickles, a whooper swan, is believed to be the oldest swan in the UK, according to the castle, and is turning 30 early next month.

The exact date of his birthday is unknown – for when he moved to his current home in 2013, it was known only that he hatched in early June 1991.

Staff from the castle’s falconry and wildlife team decided to name 3 June as Pickles Day, and celebrate the occasion every year.

This year, to mark his 30th, he will be given a special swan-friendly cake to share with the rest of the birds.

Whooper swans, which can grow up to 5ft 3in (160cm) in length, generally live to around the age of 10 in the wild, but have been known to reach their late 20s in captivity.

Staff at the tourist attraction say most regular visitors are familiar with the varied wildlife on the estate – and describe Pickles as the “noisiest resident on the castle’s moat”.

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