Do you own an Amazon Alexa? Yes? Well, then you need to try this command:
“Alexa. Ask Audubon to play a Bald Eagle.”
The Alexa Virtual Assistant (VA) will play the first call that Audubon has available, then the VA will tell you the number of other calls in the library for that species, and ask which one you’d like to hear next.
This is me trying it out on my VA.
I asked it to play a Red-tailed Hawk after. You’ll hear its raspy cry at the end. I couldn’t help myself. Why?
The call of the Red-tailed Hawk is often, and incorrectly, used throughout media in place of a Bald Eagle’s call. Have a listen above, and you’ll see why that probably happens. The pips and squeaks of a Bald Eagle kind of weakens its fierce reputation. Make no mistake, the Bald Eagle IS fierce — not sure what’s going on with that call though!
If you need some help recalling what a Red-tailed Hawk looks like, here’s a short video from my last day at the Raptor Center.
Red-tailed Hawk, the one with the red-tail?! Not always. It depends on whether or not they are an adult and a Harlan’s, for example, might not have an obvious red-tail.
An excellent way to tell is size, in relation to other hawks (it’s a large hawk, whereas a Red-shouldered Hawk would be considered medium sized). In general, the band across the belly is another good field mark.
In the image above you can make out the red-tail feathers on this captive Red-tailed Hawk. (This raptor is an educational bird that was rehabilitated. It was shot which left it blind in one eye, therefore, it could not be released back into the wild.)
Now I’m listening to the calls of a Tufted Titmouse…give it a try!