Hollywood's Voice of Choice

Blog Category
Discover Nature Notes
Published Display Date
Feb 07, 2022

You’ve heard them in scores of movies and TV shows.  But what you see is often not the same as what you hear.  

Red-tailed Hawks from Discover Nature Notes on Vimeo.

Red-tailed hawks have a raspy scream that calls out for attention. Often their sound is chosen for eagles, other hawks, or heard in the background of scary movies. Eagles have a softer, higher sound, so Hollywood editors tend to choose the stronger call of the Red-tailed hawk as their go-to-voice. As a result of this creative license, many people have the wrong impression of exactly what bald eagles sound like. You can hear the calls of red-tails and bald eagles in the media gallery below.

Watch and listen for red-tailed hawks soaring over open fields and perching on poles as they seek out their prey. You may also spot them during courting, tumbling together in pairs in the sky.

Audio file
Discover Nature Notes Radio: Hollywood's Voice of Choice
MDC, Learfield
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Soaring Red-tails
  • Many Native American tribes consider red-tailed hawks and their feathers sacred.
  • The red-tailed hawk plays a vital role in controlling animal populations. They’ll occasionally prey upon small birds, but they mostly like to prey on rodents and other small mammals.
  • Pairs may stay together for years on the same territory. Nesting is in mid-March, the earliest nesting time of all Missouri hawks. They may build a new nest of sticks and bark or renovate the same nest used the year before. Nests that have been used for years may be three or more feet high. The birds usually bring fresh greenery to the nest, sprigs of leaves or pine needles, until the young birds, usually two, leave the nest. The fresh greens repel parasites and help hide the nestlings.

Looking to catch a glimpse of the red-tailed hawk? We recommend these spots in Missouri: Black Hawk Access, the James D. Christie Conservation Area and the Marshall I. Diggs Conservation Area.

Audio file
Here's what a bald eagle sounds like in the wild
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