The internet is over the moooooon for an Oregon dad who’s gone viral for serenading a herd of cows with some sweet saxophone jams.
“My parents are such goofs they drove out to the backroads so my dad could play the cows the songs he’s been learning on the saxophone,” wrote Erin Herrmann alongside one of two video clips she tweeted on Tuesday.
The two videos show her shorts-clad father, Rick Herrmann, playing a handful of tunes ― including George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” ― as a large group of cows scattered throughout a field walk over and gather near him.
Rick Herrmann told Portland-based news station KGW 8 that he’s been playing sax for about seven months, but so far has only really practiced in front of his relatives and dog. After he saw a video of people playing music for animals, his wife suggested they take his act to the cow-adjacent road. He said he didn’t expect such a dramatic reaction from the bovines.
“I thought they might be curious,” he said. “I guess I didn’t expect them to crowd the fence so much.”
Erin Herrmann told The Daily Dot that the cows seemed to respond better than the family dog does.
“When he practices saxophone my dog hates it so much, she even chewed up his reeds,” she said. “My dad thought that maybe the cows would appreciate his music even if our dog doesn’t.”
The videos won her father numerous fans on Twitter, including legendary saxophonist Kenny G.
Playing music for seemingly intrigued cows is not that uncommon an activity, as a YouTube search indicates. In 2015, animal welfare scientist Rebecca Doyle told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that cows may be drawn to music because of their natural curiosity. But she warned that under the wrong circumstances, a musical performance could be frightening for the sensitive animals.
“When it’s in their control, a novel situation can be a really enjoyable and a really positive experience,” Doyle said. “But conversely, when they’re in a situation where it’s being forced upon them and it’s new and novel it can be really fearful and stressful for them too. It’s really about how much control they have over the situation.”
Additionally, a 2001 study suggested that slow, relaxing music could help alleviate stress in cows, though NPR noted in a 2014 article that the study’s results had not been replicated, meaning the research was still inconclusive.