Humpback whales, what do they eat?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Surfer Almost Swallowed by Whale

2 November 2011

A woman floating on a surfboard near Santa Cruz, California almost ended up on the lunch menu for a humpback whale over the weekend. Barb Roettger had her camera rolling as two hefty whales popped out of the calm waters not far from the unsuspecting surfer and a pair of kayakers.

A pod of humpback whales has been hanging out off the Santa Cruz coast, noshing on anchovies that flock to the area to feed on plankton. The woman found herself in the middle of a feeding frenzy called lunge feeding, which occurs when whales herd anchovies and shoot straight up out of the water with their mouth wide open to catch the fish.

The whales have had quite a few dangerous close encounters with humans and boats in recent months. Whale watchers are warned to stay at least 100 yards away from the feeding area which can be a quarter mile square. Roettger says she has now gained a greater respect for whales, their feeding patterns and will now only spectate from the decidedly safer dry land.

For those who doubt that this is real, watch this footage that is shot from the same kayak.

From eNatureBlog in the USA:

What Do Humpback Whales Really Eat For Dinner?

Posted on Friday, August 14, 2015 by eNature

Despite the title of the video above, Humpbacks don’t eat surfers!

Even so, this video received lots of attention around the internet when it appeared— and for good reason.

It shows a surfer’s VERY close encounter with a humpback whale off the beaches of Santa Cruz, in Northern California.

But it’s also interesting because it’s a great close-up view of how a Humpback feeds and the sort of marine life that makes up its diet.

How To Eat Without Teeth?

Humpbacks are baleen whales and have no teeth. They feed by using the large plates of baleen (see photo to right) in their mouths to filter out shrimp-like krill and other small creatures from the water. Plated grooves in the whale’s mouth allow water that was taken in to easily drain, leaving a mouth full of dinner.

But most folks don’t realize that baleen whales such as humpbacks also consume fish— mainly small schooling fish they hunt in same fashion as krill.

In the video you can clearly see lots of small prey fish scattering in all directions just before and as the whale breaches. (Double click on the video if you want to see a bigger version of it). You an also see the whale’s baleen plates and the water rushing from its mouth as it filters out its prey.

Blowing Bubbles For Dinner

Humpbacks are energetic hunters, taking krill and small schooling fish such as herring, mackerel, pollock, and haddock. They’re also quite clever and have been known to use a technique called bubble net feeding.

A whale or group of whales swims in a shrinking circle blowing bubbles below a school of prey, encircling and confining the school in an ever-smaller cylinder. The whales then suddenly swim upward through the ‘net’ with their mouths open, filtering huge quantities of water and capturing thousands of fish in one gulp.

It’s a pretty amazing thing to observe…

And one other fun thing to note in the video is all the seabirds following the whales as they feed. These birds know that breaching whales panic fish and make them easy pickings for an alert bird. Looking for flocks of seabirds working the ocean’s surface is time-honored way for fisherman to locate schools— and for whale watchers to find whales.

Have you had a chance to see Humpbacks or other whales? We always love to hear your stories.

Entangled southern right whale saved

This video from Australia says about itself:

Removing fishing line from Southern Right Whale at Roseville

Taken aboard My Girl 11/08/2015.

From daily The Independent in Britain about this:

Sydney fishermen film the moment they remove fishing line and plastic from a whale‘s head after it ‘came up to them for help’

‘It was surreal, we couldn’t believe our eyes’

Adam Withnall

Thursday 13 August 2015

A group of fishermen have captured extraordinary footage of the moment they helped free a whale from entangled rubbish after it seemed to seek out their help.

Michael Riggio, 17, and Ivan Iskenderian told the local Manly Daily newspaper they were sailing home from a fishing trip when they noticed the animal, thought to be a southern right whale, near Sydney, Australia.

The fishermen said the whale, which appeared some way up Middle Harbour just north of the New South Wales city, appeared to be looking for them to do something.

While Mr Riggio took photographs, Mr Iskanderian was able to reach out to the whale and remove a large mass of fishing lines and plastic that had got caught on the animal’s face.

“It was right on his lip… he seemed like he wanted it off,” Mr Iskenderian said.

Another man out on his boat in the same stretch of water, Ron Kovacs, was able to take a video of the moment the rubbish came free.

He posted it to Facebook, and explained that the whale had spent some time taking an unusual amount of interest in a group of boats.

“He had a big scar on his back, and some fishing line and two plastic bags on his head,” Mr Kovacs said.

“He [kept] popping his head up so you could reach out and remove the garbage. He tried on my boat bit [it was] a bit harder as we are a bit higher – I made one grab for the bag but missed.

“He later came up to a trailer boat and presented his head as they removed the bag and [then] the fishing line. It was as if he wanted them to take it off.”

Mr Riggio, who posted a selfie of the experience on Instagram, said it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, just seeing it so close”.

The fishermen said that after the rubbish was removed, the whale seemed to show its appreciation by slapping its fin on the water. Mr Iskenderian said: “It was surreal, we couldn’t believe our eyes.”

Canada: Stranded [Killer] Whale Rescued From Jagged Rocks By Duct Tape And Towels: here.

White humpback whale off Queensland, Australia

This 10 August 2015 video is called Awesome footage of rare white whale off the coast of Australia | Mashable.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Rare albino humpback whale spotted off the coast of Queensland in Australia

It was spotted on Monday

Hardeep Matharu

Tuesday 11 August 2015

A rare albino humpback whale has been spotted off the coast of Australia.

The mammal, migrating from the Antarctic to warmer waters in the north, was spotted by tourists who had paid charter boats in Queensland, in Australia’s Gold Coast, on Monday.

Aerial footage taken by news cameras captured the moment the huge, unusual animal emerged from under the surface.

The sighting caused speculation as to whether the whale was in fact Migaloo, a world-famous albino humpback which was first seen in 1991 and is known to be one of the three white whales which live in the waters of Queensland.

But Trevor Long, Sea World marine services director, told ABC Radio that this was another albino whale, nicknamed the “Son of Migaloo”.

Mr Long said this animal was smaller and younger than Migaloo and was the other white whale which has been regularly sighted off the east coast of Australia since 2011, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Read more:

Reclusive deep-water whale washes up on US beach
Ricky Gervais condemns ‘tragic’ mass slaughter of whales in Faroe Islands
Paddle boarder gets shock of his life when killer whale takes a ‘nibble’ on his board

A study in 2011 found that Migaloo lacked a gene for making an enzyme involved in making melanin, one of the primary dark pigments found in mammalian skin, explaining its light tone.

This particular variation type is reportedly hereditary, meaning it is possible that Migaloo could pass it on to an offspring.

Humpback whale disentangled off Massachusetts, USA

This video is called Humpback Whale Shows AMAZING Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets.

From the Center for Coastal Studies in the USA, 4 August 2015:


On Sunday, August 2 the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (MAER) at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) disentangled a young humpback whale yesterday in Cape Cod Bay.

The whale had fishing gear trapped in its mouth and was in very poor condition when discovered early in the morning on Sunday by the CCS Humpback Whale Studies Program. The MAER team freed the animal after an eleven hour operation and was helped by entanglement responders from the West Coast of Mexico.

The whale was spotted by the humpback researchers just off Wood End Light in Provincetown at 5:30 am on Sunday morning.

“The whale had a large amount of gear in its mouth and likely had been entangled for weeks” said Scott Landry, director of MAER. “The whale was very small, around 30 feet, and not very easy to see when it was discovered by the humpback team. Had they not found it the whale its prognosis would have been very poor”.

The team used grappling hooks to attach working ropes to the entanglement on the whale. Buoys were added to the working ropes to slow the whale and keep it at the surface.

After a thorough assessment the team found that the whale had rope and netting through its mouth that was dragging deep into the water. Using knives at the end of long poles the team selectively cut away the entanglement over a period of several hours.

“The whale was in a much better position by the time we ended the operation late in the afternoon off Plymouth. That being said, the whale was not in great condition from its entanglement and has a lot of work to do in healing” said Landry.

The team was joined by Karel Beets and Ricky Rebolledo of the Red de Asistencia a Ballenas Enmalladas (RABEN), the whale disentanglement network of Mexico. They have joined the CCS MAER team for three weeks as part of a fellowship program supported by several NGO’s and coordinated by the Global Whale Entanglement Response Network, a conservation and welfare initiative of the International Whaling Commission, in partnership with CCS.

CCS is deeply invested in making the response to entangled whales as safe for humans and whales as possible, hosting groups from many nations as part of that effort. “Yesterday was a great experience” said Beets, “It reinforced the need for all responders to be methodical in how they deal with entangled whales, taking each step slowly and as a team”.

Boaters in the NE are urged to report any entanglement sightings of whales, sea-turtles and other marine animals to the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Hotline (1-800-900-3622) or the US Coast Guard, and to stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.

CCS disentanglement work is supported by a grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA-DMF), and the Massachusette Environmental Trust.

The fellowship program is supported by World Animal Protection and the DJ & T Foundation

The CCS MAER program also receives support from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. Support is also provided by the Pegasus Foundation, the Hermann Foundation, the Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation, and contributions from CCS members. The fellowship program is supported by the DJ & T Foundation.

All disentanglement activities are conducted under a federal permit authorized by NOAA.

Whale in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This video says about itself:

Whale ‘moves in’ to luxury Buenos Aires dockside neighbourhood

3 August 2015

Residents of a luxury dockside neighbourhood in Buenos Aires have welcomed an unexpected new neighbour – a whale.

People from across the city have gathered at the Puerto Madero dockland in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the mammal, swimming between the moored boats.

This 3 August 2015 video is called Argentina: Hundreds gather to watch whale swim in Buenos Aires marina.

From the BBC:

Whale swims into Buenos Aires marina

4 August 2015

Residents of an upmarket neighbourhood in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires welcomed a surprise guest when a whale swam into a city marina.

The creature was seen surfacing amongst the luxury yachts in Puerto Madero, with hundreds lining up for a glimpse.

A local police boat later tried to lure the whale to the Rio de la Plata river, which connects with the Atlantic.

Experts have suggested the animal was most likely a cub separated from its herd.

“Unusual yes, I’ve never seen one in Puerto Madero,” said one resident.

“It’s really sad,” a local bank worker told the Associated Press. “This is not its natural habitat. The poor whale is clearly lost.”

A specialist looking at the numerous images on social media identified it as a minke whale, warning [in] La Nacion (in Spanish) freshwater would damage its health.

But Mariano Sironi, scientific director of the Whale Conservation Institute in Argentina, told AP he thought it was more likely to be a humpback whale.

Mysterious whale beached in Massachusetts, USA

This 26 July 2015 video is called Sowerby’s beaked whale: Reclusive deep-water whale washes up on US beach.

From CNN in the USA:

Beached beaked whale has marine biologists scratching their heads

By Lorenzo Ferrigno and Pilar Melendez, CNN

Updated 2154 GMT (0454 HKT) July 26, 2015

The carcass of a deep-sea beaked whale found washed up on a Plymouth, Massachusetts, beach is so rare that it has marine experts confounded: What is its exact species, and how did it get to shore?

The 17-foot toothed female whale, which weighs nearly 1 ton and has dark purplish skin with a long slender snout, was found washed up on a stone jetty.

It is believed to be a Sowerby’s beaked whale, but its type is so rarely seen that New England Aquarium biologists “have been conferring to determine the exact species,” aquarium officials said in a statement released Saturday.

“The beaked whale carcass is fairly fresh and in good condition,” the statement said. “At first inspection, the long, streamlined whale did not have any obvious entanglement gear or scars or obvious trauma from a vessel strike.”

The deep diving Sowerby’s whales are usually found on the continental shelf, hundreds of miles out to sea, the statement said.

Marine biologists with the New England Aquarium performed an animal autopsy Saturday at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and are investigating what caused the whale to wash ashore, according to the statement.

An employee with Plymouth Marine and Environmental Affairs staff called in the whale at 10 a.m. Friday, Plymouth harbormaster Chad Hunter told CNN.

“The best way to describe it, it looked like a dolphin,” Hunter said. “But much bigger.”

Plymouth natural resource officers anchored it to avoid it washing out, he said. Because of the whale’s enormity, the staff had to wait until high tide, around 5 p.m. Friday evening, to remove the carcass from the rocks.

The whale was then towed it to the pier and lifted it by crane onto an aquarium trailer, Hunter said.

“Deep diving whales you generally don’t see near the coast, so it is very unique for it to wash up on the beach,” Hunter said. “We have had a number of whales and dolphins end up on shore over the years, but never this species to my knowledge.”

New England Aquarium staff last handled a beaked whale in 2006 in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution could not be reached for comment or necropsy results.