March of the Peabody Hotel Ducks

Duck march. Image credit: The Peabody
Duck march. Image credit: The Peabody

Ah, hotels. Places where you can relax after a long trip, have someone else clean after you, and… watch a group of ducks make their way down a red carpet? At The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, visitors can do just that.

The ducks march to the travertine marble fountain in the hotel’s lobby at 11 a.m. each morning, guided by the Peabody Duckmaster Jason Sensat. The ducks frolic in the fountain until 5 p.m, when they march back to the elevator which returns them to the Royal Duck Palace on the rooftop.

Five North American mallards, one male and four females, comprise the team of Peabody Ducks. As the hotel recognizes that they are wild animals, not pets, the ducks don’t have individual names.

The extraordinary tradition began in 1932, when Frank Schutt, the hotel’s general manager, and his friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a hunting trip and decided to have a laugh by placing some of their live duck decoys in the fountain. The gag turned out to be a success, and a tradition was born. In 1940, bellman Edward Pembroke became the Peabody Duckmaster, helping the ducks make their way to and from the fountain.

Each team of ducks lives at the hotel for three months before returning to a local farm, where they will live as wild ducks. Duck has not been served anywhere at The Peabody since 1981.

(Via BBC Travel)

For more information, visit The Peabody’s website.