The Sunday Telegraph
Birds aflutter with the sound of chamber music
SIR – I have found that birds are very responsive to music created by humans (Letters, June 13).
Until recently, my amateur string quartet was not permitted to perform indoors, so we played chamber music in a friend’s garden. Not only did the house sparrows come close and chatter loudly in competition (or accompaniment), but a solitary robin would also sit on top of a conifer, seeming to imitate certain phrases.
By contrast, our budgie, Noddy, was a fierce critic of my piano playing and would peck the edges of my music, covering the keyboard in confetti.
SIR – Every year my grandmother opened her garden and grounds at Langham Hall; and every year Toby, a black Labrador belonging to Sir Alfred Munnings, came up from Dedham and sang to order. It was the highlight for me and my siblings.
SIR – In the 1950s we had a dog, Kneehigh, who, when he heard Doris Day singing Secret Love, would hide under the table and howl like a banshee.
My late father’s look over the top of his glasses suggested that he sympathised.
Portrane, Co Dublin, Ireland
SIR – In the 1940s, when our family radio was a wooden flat-topped box, the cat that had adopted our family appeared every day for the lunchtime classical concert and sat on top of it until the end. He must have liked the vibes. It would have been a cosy, too, with the heat from the valves.
SIR – When my children were learning to play the recorder, the cat would leap up and try to bat the instruments from their mouths.
Richmond, North Yorkshire