Right Whale migration (fwd)

From: Pita Admininstrator (pita@whale.wheelock.edu)
Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 19:17:59 EST

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    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 22:07:05 -0800 (PST)
    From: Pieter Folkens <onporpoise@sbcglobal.net>
    To: Beth Curtis <necurtis@planttel.net>
    Cc: pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: Right Whale migration

    > I was wondering if the hurricanes & Tsaunami would
    > effect the normal migration patterns of whales. A
    > friend & I are planning on doing some coastal whale
    > watching & are trying to decide when the best time
    > would be to sit on the beach.

    Hurricanes and Tsunamis do not affect the normal
    migration patterns, but a single hurricane or tsunami
    event may affect the migration of individual whales in
    that vicinity. Whale migrations developed over many
    tens of thousands of years. One hurricane, or even a
    string of them would not significantly alter the
    larger, inclusive migration pattern of a particular

    A tsunami can happen at any time, but they are
    relativley rare (a big one about every 40 to 100
    years). Hurricances are seasonal and relatively common
    (several occur annually). However, they generally
    occur at a time of year (summer/autumn) when the
    migratory whales (right whales, humpbacks, etc.) are
    not present in areas where the typical hurricane
    occurs (tropics, subtropics). The migrators head to
    warmer waters during winter for calving and mating.

    As for whale watching . . .
    I am less familiar with the Atlantic Seaboard than
    with the West Coast, but the timing should be the
    same. We get gray whales out here. They can be seen
    from late December through June from quite a few
    promitories along the coast from Vancouver Island to
    Baja Mexico. Seeing right whales from the shore is a
    bit more of a challenge. Where as we have upwards of
    27,000 gray whales, there are only around 300 right
    whales in the North Atlantic. Right whales go to
    predictable places along the Georgia/Northern Florida
    shore, a bit like gray whales and the lagoons. Still,
    seeing one on any given day during the breeding season
    (January March) is unpredictable due to the few
    number of rights remaining.

    I hope you do see a whale or more, but keep your eyes
    out for dolphins as well.


    Pieter Folkens

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