What sounds do birds of prey make?

Ffion the Tawny Owl is one of our noisiest residents!

Hoot, screech, whistle, kekk, scream, hiss and more. Raptors make a huge number of different vocalisations – some species making over 40 or 50 different sounds. Here at The Bird of Prey Project you can be immersed in sound from our resident birds who love to welcome you with a noise or two… What do all these noises mean? Well, there’s a lot to cover, but let’s do a whistle stop tour…

Owls are perhaps the most famous species group when it comes to sound – ‘Twitt Twoo’ right? Well there are well over 200 different species of owls across the world and only one species, the Tawny Owl (found here in the UK), make the famous ‘Twitt Twoo’ sound – and it’s commonly a territorial and breeding call. Other Owl species hoot, and most often the hoot is a breeding communication. 

A clear, loud, sharp warning call is essential if you are a wild bird of prey – the Peregrine Falcon for example wastes no time warning their partner and offspring of danger – and trying to scare off the danger too – with a loud, piercing repetitive scream. They will also throw out a hiss or two to anything scary looking that gets too close – it means ‘back off!’

Some species can be very vocal in their family groups. One of our most vocal residents here at the centre is our Buzzard Neo – he is very friendly with his favourite team members and loves to chat with a soft ‘Pijar’ call, which sounds like a mewing noise and it is a way of interacting socially and perhaps asking for a bite or two to eat (Neo loves food). You might hear wild Buzzards making this noise too!

Raptors can make a huge amount of different noise, and learning to recognise some of those vocalisations can help you identify what you might have living in your local area. A visit to the centre will help you learn ear to ear what raptors sound like – we’re open Wednesday to Sunday, March to October. 


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