THE King’s swans have been hit by bird flu for a second time this year.
Swan charities have spent six days removing bodies of nearly 70 of the 200-strong royal flock from the water to stop the spread.
It comes after seven swans died at the same spot in January and vets humanely culled a further 26.
But the outbreak has returned with a vengeance and locals have been warned to stay away from the banks of the river and not feed them.
Sources say His Majesty, inset, will be “deeply upset” by the death toll.
A Windsor Castle source said: “King Charles takes an enormous interest in the wildlife on all royal estates and beyond, particularly so at Windsor where he is now the head ranger.
“He will be deeply upset about this major outbreak.” The source added the King’s swan marker David Barber, who did the job for 30 years for the Queen, will be keeping the Palace informed.
Charles inherited the Queen’s swans when she died.
Swan Support rescue chief Wendy Hermon said: “We have 66 dead so far but the phone is still ringing with more reports and we are working flat out to pick up all the dead swans.”
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She added: “I have been looking after the royal swans for 30 years beneath the castle and I have never seen anything like this.
“It is the speed that these swans are dying at that is frightening as they are literally dropping dead in the water all over the place and every day we are pulling them out.”