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The ducks at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis


EZEtoGRU
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I was in Memphis last week for two nights to attend a concert.  I stayed at The Peabody Hotel downtown which was walking distance to the concert venue.  The hotel itself is lovely and well-maintained.  I do enjoy old style hotels that have been kept up nicely.   Plenty of food options in the hotel or within walking distance.

As I'm sure some of you know, The Peabody continues its long tradition of hosting the "Peabody Ducks" each day.  At 11:00am, the ducks come down the elevator from the penthouse (where they live) and then march on a red carpet to then hop into a fountain that is in the middle of the lobby bar area.  They swim around for the day (or stand on small podiums in the fountain) in the fountain and then do the "march" back to the elevator and up to the penthouse again at 5:00pm.   It's a huge tourist draw with lots of people watching.  It happens every day.

I found it somewhat cute but was more bothered by the whole thing than anything.  As I have evolved over the years, I increasingly find the use of animals in unnatural situations for the purpose of human entertainment to be disturbing.  I suppose as a child/teen/young adult I probably enjoyed this sort of thing. However, in the last 20-30 years, I am more and more against it.  I feel the same about circuses.  I have not been to a traditional circus for  many many years and would not dream of going.  Same for bull fights.  I find them disgusting even though I have had ample opportunity to attend them in Spain and Latin America as far back as the 1980's.  Even zoos concern me unless they make a major effort to create a very natural environment with ample space for the animals.   

As I watched the ducks in the fountain, I was surprised how small the fountain (that they have to spend 6 hours in) actually was.  It's tiny but 6 ducks need to spend a good part of the day in it and compete for podium time (so they don't have to be swimming the entire time).  When the ducks arrive into the fountain, some of them immediately feel the need to rush to a podium to grab it quickly before another duck did.  It just all seemed somewhat sad to view when thinking about it from the duck's point of view.  I wonder how they feel about having to do this every day?  Most people seemed to love it but I don't feel I would repeat the experience nor would I recommend seeing it.

Has society moved on from this sort of thing?  Societies do evolve.  Something that was seen as cute and acceptable before may not be considered appropriate today.  Afterall, public hangings in the old south were considered acceptable entertainment years back. Thoughts?

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2 minutes ago, EZEtoGRU said:

At 11:00am, the ducks come down the elevator from the penthouse (where they live) and then march on a red carpet to then hop into a fountain that is in the middle of the lobby bar area.

And what is the color of the red carpet afterward?  Just figure out a way to slip them some EXLAX one morning, and the tradition will end in a hurry.

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It's certainly not a natural environment for the ducks and while they are no doubt well fed and cared for, it does seem to be some form of abuse in the modern way of looking at things. 

 Of course in the wild many of them would have much shorter lives so there is that way of looking at it too. I think if one has grown up on a farm one has a different view. I grew up in Montreal and at the Ritz Carlton hotel there, for many years they have had ducks in their garden which can be viewed while dining. You can check it out on their webpage.

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45 minutes ago, EZEtoGRU said:

The Peabody continues its long tradition of hosting the "Peabody Ducks" each day. 

 

13 minutes ago, Luv2play said:

I grew up in Montreal and at the Ritz Carlton hotel there, for many years they have had ducks in their garden which can be viewed while dining. You can check it out on their webpage.

I'm sorry, I had to rate this topic only 3 stars because it's not all it's quacked up to be.

Edited by samhexum
just for the hell of it.
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10 minutes ago, samhexum said:

 

I'm sorry, I had to rate this topic only 3 stars because it's not all it's quacked up to be.

Well, you're falling two stars short of the ranking of these hotels where live ducks are featured. They don't come cheap. Lol.

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1 hour ago, Becket said:

If it acts like a duck.......

Have enjoyed The Peabody and the ducks since childhood.  

I enjoyed the ducks as well during my one stay at the Peabody.  The entertainment was not the duck procession itself but the reaction of kids to the ducks.  Little kids giggle, scream, and jump up & down with delight while watching the ducks, and the whole scene is just adorable.

I think the Peabody ducks live a pretty good life.  The hotel staff does their best to take good care of them.  Whatever downside to their hotel life, it sure beats getting eaten by a fox or coyote.

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There's may be a somewhat darker flip side to being a "kept" animal. When I watch a story (usually on YouTube) of previously captive animals -such as a lion- being released into the wild, I picture that lion the first day after his release.

He's sitting and glancing around impatiently, practically looking at his watch and thinking: What the hell is going on here? What kind of place is this? Here it is, almost 12:30, and no sign of that man with my lunch? What? Am I supposed to go out and kill it myself? Hell of way to "rescue" someone.

Gilded cage syndrome, I suppose.

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did watch the ducks in the morning with my Dad once in 1987 when they arrive at the fountain.....was very touristy and I think some of the staff (it happens in the lobby bar area) gets a bit sick of it all for the few minutes.....it went by very quickly and then it was all over.....here's a clip of the ceremony in the evening when they return to their penthouse......

 

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Well, with 30 seconds of Googling, I found this:
Link here: https://www.peabodymemphis.com/peabody-ducks

"Raised by a local farmer and a friend of the hotel, each team of Peabody Ducks lives at the hotel for only three months before retiring from their duty and returning to the farm, where they are free to live as wild ducks. With a return to the great outdoors in mind, the hotel recognizes its resident waterfowl as wild animals and does not domesticate them or treat them like pets."

It's truly amazing what you find when you just take a moment to do just a little itty bit of research. 🙂

I think they're just fine. And your observation of "When the ducks arrive into the fountain, some of them immediately feel the need to rush to a podium to grab it quickly before another duck did" is quite possibly your own projection onto the situation. That may not be - and probably isn't - what is occurring.

It's a cute tradition. It's not harming anyone, or any creature. 

Edited by Todd Jenkins
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10 hours ago, mike carey said:

Ducks don't 'cheap', they quack.

 

19 hours ago, samhexum said:

 

I'm sorry, I had to rate this topic only 3 stars because it's not all it's quacked up to be.

Hence my brilliant reply.

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I just looked up on Wikipedia the list of species which threaten ducks in the wild, and it's quite extensive! They get attacked from land, air, and water. 😬

"In addition to human hunting, mallards of all ages (but especially young ones) and in all locations must contend with a wide diversity of predators including raptors and owls, mustelids, corvids, snakes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, turtles, large fish, felids, and canids, the last two including domestic ones.[95] The most prolific natural predators of adult mallards are red foxes (which most often pick off brooding females) and the faster or larger birds of prey, e.g. peregrine falcons, Aquila or Haliaeetus eagles.[96] In North America, adult mallards face no fewer than 15 species of birds of prey, from northern harriers (Circus hudsonius) and short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) (both smaller than a mallard) to huge bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), and about a dozen species of mammalian predators, not counting several more avian and mammalian predators who threaten eggs and nestlings.[94]

Mallards are also preyed upon by other waterside apex predators, such as grey herons (Ardea cinerea),[97] great blue herons (Ardea herodias) and black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), the European herring gull (Larus argentatus), the wels catfish (Silurus glanis), and the northern pike (Esox lucius).[98] Crows (Corvus spp.) are also known to kill ducklings and adults on occasion.[99] Also, mallards may be attacked by larger anseriformes such as swans (Cygnus spp.) and geese during the breeding season, and are frequently driven off by these birds over territorial disputes. Mute swans (Cygnus olor) have been known to attack or even kill mallards if they feel that the ducks pose a threat to their offspring.[100] Common loons (Gavia inmer) are similarly territorial and aggressive towards other birds in such disputes, and will frequently drive mallards away from their territory."

 

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This thread gives a good example of how one's opinion could change regarding an issue might change when pros and cons...and yes, even humor, are considered.   Also, how something presented may not include everything there is to know regarding the subject and a rush to judgement can sometimes not be a good idea, if ever.  

Having grown up in the area and being wll aware of the Peabody duck tradition, I had accepted it as just the way things were, and thought it sortqa cute.   The orginal poster's point does give some cause for though, however,  about the treatment of animals from a view I hadn't previously given much thought.

  Does the additonal fact presented that its only for three months change how one should view the issue?  Hence, the value of knowing all you can about something before making a judgement is usually wise.

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Once, standing in the right place at the right time, my daughter got to marshal the duck parade at a young age.  She was thrilled.   As to their “condition,” their lodging is actually quite opulent and safe.  migratory patterns make Memphis (and the Mississippi Delta) the center of duck hunting so they are much better provided for there than in the wild.

As to the Peabody, it’s a remarkable preservation story!   The immensely wealthy Belz family facetiously thought the restoration would bankrupt them when they bought it for a pittance and now they’ve made it a brand.   If you go to Memphis, stay there and make sure you get some dry ribs at the Rendezvous entered from the Alley across the street.   Memphis is the Peabody and the tradition of the ducks is the cherry on top. 

Edited by BnaC
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1 hour ago, BnaC said:

If you go to Memphis, stay there and make sure you get some dry ribs at the Rendezvous entered from the Alley across the street. Memphis is the Peabody and the tradition of the ducks is the cherry on top. 

You mount a persuasive case!

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On 10/8/2022 at 9:12 AM, ButchAtl said:

This thread gives a good example of how one's opinion could change regarding an issue might change when pros and cons...and yes, even humor, are considered.   Also, how something presented may not include everything there is to know regarding the subject and a rush to judgement can sometimes not be a good idea, if ever...

But isn't it more fun and comforting to think like a 7 year-old (or vegan)--that animals in the wild live a life free of predators, starvation, illness, injury, and other stressors, like in a Disney cartoon? After their 3-month stint, maybe they'll end up as magret & confit de canard...

Disney Quiz: Name The Disney Animals

smiling donald with a hat on his hand - Clipart World

Donald Duck PNG Image | Disney cartoons, Disney cartoon characters,  Favorite cartoon character

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