Subject: humpback migration

roman (jroman@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU)
Thu, 04 Mar 1999 10:29:32 +0100

>	In school I am working on a humpback whale project. I have a few
>questions that you might be able to answer. How long do Humpbacks stay in
>their feeding grounds and their breeding grounds?

Dear Sara:

Since I'm not sure where you're writing from, I'll  answer your question
about the humpbacks that live near me--the western North Atlantic.
Humpbacks in this area breed and calve during January through March in the
Caribbean.  After calving and mating, they migrate more than 5000 miles to
northern feeding ranges  found from the Gulf of Mexico to Iceland.

Their length of stay in the feeding area varies.  They may start showing up
in the Gulf of Mexico around April and can stay up north at least through
October.  Some scientists have noted that humpbacks migrate at different
times.  Females in early pregnancy leave the breeding grounds first, then
juveniles, then mature males and females, and finally nursing females.

The pregnant females may leave first so that they can spend the most time
in the feeding area (a whale needs a lot of energy to have a calf).  The
nursing females may lag behind so that their young calves can spend a
longer time in the warm waters of the south.

Hope this helps!



Joseph Roman
University of Florida
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PO Box 12253
Gainesville, FL 32604
(352) 379-8096