As part of my Marine Bio class, we’re going out on a bunch of whale watches to sequence whale behavior and photograph what we see. We’re also learning how to identify individual humpbacks just by looking at them. It’s pretty amazing, thousands of humpbacks have been cataloged this way and researchers can trace family trees back generations. Isn’t that insane? These animals are 40-60′ long, weigh 60,000-80,000 lbs. and yet their tail flukes are unique enough to enable individual identification on sight. There hasn’t been a ton of activity lately, but about thirty humpbacks were seen feeding on Stellwagen Bank yesterday, so hopefully we’ll have better luck this weekend.
A whale of a time…
• Fun fact: Humpbacks eat ~1.5 tons of food every day. BUT, they don’t eat anything for 3-4 months each year while they’re at their breeding and calving grounds.
• NOAA’s guide to identifying humpbacks, including a family tree of the Gulf of Maine’s star, Salt.
• I caught the documentary Blackfish on TV a few months ago and it’s insane. It follows a killer whale in captivity and its role in three deaths. If you haven’t seen it, definitely get your hands on it (it’s streaming on Netflix and it still may be in Redbox).