Adapted from: Our House Turkeys, by Marion Wickersham
Arthur & Guinevere are two turkeys who live with Marion Wickersham. She has spent her time watching the birds’ behaviour and has made some amazing discoveries…
I spend several hours a day in the kitchen listening to the radio. I have found that there are certain kinds of music the birds seem to prefer. Arthur gobbles indignantly at loud, wild music but listens quietly to soft, slow sounds.
Guinevere is especially fond of flute music. One day, just after I had given her and Arthur some fresh greens, a flute solo came on the radio. Guinevere stopped eating (something I had never seen her do until the greens were gone), came to the foot of the stairs, listened for a moment or two, and began a sweet trilling: a sound I had never heard before.
As I watched and listened entranced, she began to sway from side to side in time with the music. I quickly called Ted and asked, “What is she doing?” I could not believe what I was seeing. Ted answered, “It’s obvious. She’s dancing!” When the music stopped, she stopped and went back to her snack.
Many birds dance to attract a mate, especially in springtime. From pigeons to parrots, birds like to show themselves off by dancing. Have a look at the birds near where you live and see what kinds of dances they perform.
Ostriches are the only birds that dance for fun. Early in the morning, the birds gather and begin to dance in circles on tip-toes with their wings outstretched. Very soon, the whole group joins in with the twirling dance. Scientists think that this dance is purely an expression of joy at being alive!
• What kinds of music do you enjoy?
• What kind of music makes you happy?
• What kind of music makes you sad?
Find out about different kinds of bird song.
• What birds can mimic other sounds?
• Why do birds sing?
• What other animals sing? Have you heard of a whale song?
• Are there any animals that dance as part of their normal behaviour?
Feeling Happy – Feeling Sad
Make a list of five things that make you happy.
Make a list of five things that make you sad.
Think of five ways you could make an animal happy.
Think of five ways you could make an animal sad.
• Compose a piece of music to show happiness and design a dance to go with your music
• Compose a piece of music to show sadness and design a dance to go with your music
Music for your companion animal
• Compose a piece of music for your companion animal
• Would cats enjoy different music from dogs?
• What kinds of music would a goldfish enjoy?
FLUTES AND FLUTE MUSIC
The flute is a woodwind instrument without a reed. It is one of the world’s oldest instruments, a flute made from the thigh bone of a bear has been found which was over 50,000 years old. Flutes are used to make traditional music in nearly every corner of the world. Here are some examples of flute music to play to your children. They may be able to create their own dances to flute music or talk about how they feel listening to flute music.
Pan et les bergers; Debussy. Annie’s Song, Belfast Hornpipe; James Galway. Suite No. 2; J. S. Bach. Concerto No 2 for flute and orchestra; Danzi.
Whale music can be bought in many music shops. Ask the class what they think the whales are saying to each other. How does the music make them feel?