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Archive for June, 2011

Bubble netting is a bit of an elusive hunting technique among Humpbacks.  This is a highly specialized way of feeding in which whales come together in “associations” (sometimes having been a part of these feeding associations for several decades).  Essentially, each whale has a role/job.  One of those whales will swim in a spiral tightening towards the end, while simultaneously releasing bubbles through its blow hole.  The goal is to disorient fish and confuse them; thus, stunning them into place and allowing the whales to come up to the surface, with mouths open, and take in thousands of fish.

First, it is only the North Pacific population that is known to use this as a hunting technique.  Second, after coming to Alaska I have realized that it is mostly the whales out of South East Alaska (Juneau area primarily) that employ this amazing strategy.  Today it was sighted in Kenai Fjords National Park.  I regret to admit that I was not onboard to witness this extremely rare behavior, but I have heard they recorded the encounter with a hydrophone.  If I can get a digital form or any pictures, I will be sure to post them immediately!

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One of my captains here has an ID website for both Orcas and Humpbacks.  If anyone has good ID shots of humpbacks feel free to send them to koholakatie@gmail.com.  They have a database of thousands of pictures from 2008 – 2010 and would love to see pictures from this winter to match up and see where which animals migrate to. I think he was very happy when I showed up =)

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