Britain's oldest swan Pickles dies at 30 years old

Britain’s oldest swan Pickles dies at 30 years old – just weeks after celebrating the landmark with a birthday cake

  • The UK’s oldest swan has died just weeks after celebrating his 30th birthday
  • PIckles the Whooper swan reached the milestone birthday on June 3 
  • He put smiles on people’s faces at Leeds Castle in Kent for eight years 

The UK’s oldest swan has died just weeks after celebrating his 30th birthday with a cake.

Pickles the Whooper swan, pictured, reached the milestone birthday on June 3.

Staff at Leeds Castle, Kent, where he lived, had dubbed June 3 as Pickles Day – celebrating it since his arrival in 2013. And, after a year with no visitors, last month he received a special seed cake.

But yesterday wildlife manager Mark Brattle said: ‘It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pickles. He was a massive character at the castle and will be missed by staff and visitors.’

The UK’s oldest swan Pickles has died just weeks after celebrating his 30th birthday with a cake at Leeds Castle, Kent, on June 3

Pickles had been putting smiles on people’s faces at Leeds Castle in Kent for eight years before passing away. 

The bird was easily spotted with his classic white plumage, long thin neck, black legs and large vibrant yellow bill. 

He was often seen swimming around the 12th century castle’s giant moat or on the vast Great Water nearby. 

Leeds castle is home to over a dozen captive bred swans, including Mute Swans, Trumpeter Swans and the famous Leeds Castle Black Swans.

But none as famous as Pickles who hatched sometime in early June 1991 and arrived at the castle in Maidstone in 2013.

A castle spokesman added: ‘Pickles will be fondly remembered by staff and visitors at the castle, RIP to the feathered King of the Castle, fly high.’

Pickles had been putting smiles on people’s faces at Leeds Castle in Kent for eight years before passing away. The bird was easily spotted with his classic white plumage, long thin neck, black legs and large vibrant yellow bill

A typical lifespan for Whooper Swans is around 10 years in the wild, but they can live into their late 20s in captivity.

Growing up to 160cm in length from bill to tail and weighing up to 11kg, they undertake one of the longest sea crossings of any swan species, migrating around 1400km to Britain from Iceland.

Mr Brattle said: ‘When he arrived there was little known about him other than he had hatched sometime in early June 1991.

‘No exact date had been given, which meant Pickles didn’t have a birthday.

‘So we decided to assign him a day and June 3 became known at the castle as Pickles Day.’ 

Source: Read Full Article