singing?

From: Howard Garrett (howard@orcanetwork.org)
Date: Sun Nov 21 2004 - 14:19:54 EST

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    Hello Howard,
    while scubadiving off the coast of Catalina Island in California last week,
    I heard something that could be described only as, well, singing. It
    sounded like a repetitive three tone "melody". Every tone was equally long,
    and there was a short pause before the melody was repeated. The whole
    thing lasted maybe 15 minutes. When I returned to the boat, I found two
    more divers telling the same story.

    I heard dolphins before, but this was different. Could it be the whales?

    Thank you for your time. I tried web search but didn't come up with
    anything specific.

    Maja Vrvilo

    Maja,

    That sounds angelic, and since there are humpbacks occasionally in that
    area, it wouldn't surprise me if those were humpback whale songs you were
    hearing. At least I'm not familiar with any other whale songs that would
    sound like that. Since Catalina isn't a mating and calving area, where
    humpback songs are typically heard, but either a feeding area or a
    migratory route, what you heard were probably the "truncated" songs that
    are sometimes heard in the higher latitude feeding areas. It's not the
    entire song, which could last for 15 or more minutes without any
    repetition, but just a short segment of the song, repeated many times. That
    doesn't answer the question of why the whales would be singing parts of
    their songs in the feeding areas or along their migratory route, which is
    anybody's guess.

    Howard Garrett
    Orca Network
    Greenbank WA
    (360) 678-3451
    www.orcanetwork.org
    howard@orcanetwork.org



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