Friday, April 02, 2010

WEDS, MARCH 31, 2010 Fifteen Transient Killer Whales Get Together To Hunt!!!

WEDS, MARCH 31, 2010 Fifteen Transient Killer Whales Get Together To Hunt!!!

As recently as 15 years ago if you went to a seminar or class to learn about identifying Killer Whales, you likely would have been told, "If you see more than 5 Killer Whales together you are almost certainly looking at Resident "Fish-Eating) Killer Whales because Transient (Marine-Mammal-Eating) Killer Whales rarely travel or hunt in groups of more than 5 animals".

Funny thing about watching wildlife: It keeps one very humble! For yet again, likely the 30th or more time in the last two years, we went out today and saw many Killer Whales hunting together and they were clearly Transient (Marine-Mammal-Eating) Killer Whales...

How do we know that they were "clearly Transient (Marine-Mammal-Eating) Killer Whales"? Here are the key clues:

1. They were foraging and hunting for seals and porpoise (Note the pictures where animals were swimming in different directions, triangulating around prey). Resident Killer Whales do not hunt or eat Marine Mammals;
2. Their dorsal fins are much pointier than the more rounded fins of Resident Killer Whales;
3. Their Saddle Patches (The white patch just behind the dorsal fin) are all "closed", meaning that there is no black pigment swirling or entering into the white patch; and
4. Their saddle patches extend farther forward underneath the dorsal fin.

We look forward to posting full I.D.'s of these animals once we have had a chance to properly examine these photos. Identification is done by matching dorsal fin shape, saddle patch shape, nicks, scratches and marks and comparing them to identification survey guide photos.

What will tomorrow bring?! That's what keeps us so excited to get back out there and take you with us each day!

1 comment:

Linda said...

oh,i love your blog~~~