When you think of the sound of a dolphin, does it sound something like this?

This was the type of sound used for Flipper‘s voice. But unfortunately, it is not the sound of a dolphin.

Flipper movie poster

It’s the sound of a bird. A Kookaburra bird. Sped up. Here’s the sound of a Kookaburra bird at normal speed.

Sadly, this sound is getting reused in many places, from popular cartoons (e.g. the censor sound effect in SpongeBob SquarePants), to educational programs teaching about marine life (e.g. this Noggin video – both a human reenacting it and then a recording with some real dolphin sound at the beginning merging into the fake sound).

This is not the first time a sound of a different species has replaced the real thing. Real bald eagle calls were not found to be powerful enough by Hollywood so they used the sound of a red-tailed hawk screaming.

What’s really frustrating though is that dolphin sounds are varied and awesome and would be even more interesting than this fake one!

Here are a few examples I personally recorded so I know they are real! 🙂 Please spread the word and feel free to use these REAL dolphin sounds in place of sped up bird calls for all your dolphin sound needs! And if you ever wonder if a sound effect you are using is the real deal – ask me! I love helping people hear the amazing sounds of nature!

And here’s a song I wrote featuring the squawking sound of a dolphin – the repeated “anh anh anh anh anh” sound is a real dolphin recording.