Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Humpback whales join the seals

John FitzRandolph reports on a young humpback whale in San Simeon Cove:

This story could develop into the North Coast’s marine mammal mystery of the year, and it could prove to be among the most treasured wildlife encounters witnessed here in many years.
For 24 consecutive days (as of Tuesday, Aug. 4), a juvenile humpback whale has been dining on anchovies, sardines and other small bait fish in the San Simeon Cove.

Why has this whale lingered for so many days in the Cove? If there are ample schools of bait fish in the Cove, why aren’t there other whales feeding there as well — as there have been in recent weeks?

Read the rest of his story here.

So this story about humpback whale songs caught my attention: NPR reports:

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/08/04/3749066_humpback-san-simeon-cove-juvenile.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
Humpback whales don't just sing songs — they compose with the whales around them, singing a song that evolves over time. Scientists didn't know that until they started recording whale sounds in the 1960s and spent years listening. The evolution of this "culture of listening" among researchers is the focus of Morning Edition's weekly summer series, Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound.
Katy Payne, a researcher in acoustic biology at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and her husband, Roger, were the first scientists to realize that the intricate and eerie calls of some humpback whales are actually songs. At a recent visit with Katy in a Cornell sound studio, we played this archived recording of the first whale they ever heard, and she recognized it right away:
"It's the voice of a male humpback whale off shore of Bermuda, in 1964," Katy explained. "It was recorded by a Navy engineer."

Read or listen to the rest of the story here.  

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