Do Killer whales migrate?

From: Erich Hoyt (
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 07:41:56 EST

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Message text written by "Paula Nelson"

    Hello Erich, I am doing a big school project and an expert is required.
I have a question about killer whales and I was wondering if you could help
me. My question is, how long do killer whales stay in one place before they
migrate? If you cannot help me and cannot be my expert can you please point
me in the direction so I could find one? I will also need to be able to get
in touch with the expert. Thank you for your time,

                Thank you,

P.S. MY email address is"

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Hi Nicole,

Killer whales, or orcas, don't actually migrate in the sense that baleen
whales do (like humpback whales and blue whales). In the areas of the world
where we've studied orcas there appear to be residents that may undertake
general movements closer to food sources, e.g., salmon spawning near the
rivermouths, in summer, while the rest of the year they range over wider
areas but they don't completely leave the area.

On the other hand, killer whales are constantly on the move, every day of
their lives. They travel 75 to 100 or more miles a day as they forage for
food. But in many cases they will be patroling the same areas over and over

There are some kinds of orcas called transients that hunt and feed on
marine mammals; these orcas appear to travel much more than the others --
indeed for hundreds of miles up and down the Pacific coast, but not in a
regular or seasonal pattern that could be called migration.

I'm happy to be your expert for this project. Send any further question by

Best regards

Erich Hoyt

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