First Orcasound recording of humpback song in Haro during January!

This evening Val and Leslie Veirs of the Orcasound Lab node reported hearing humpback whale sounds. Here is a sample of what they heard live:

Haro humpback sound sample

The associated spectrogram below shows these humpback calls last up to ~5-seconds and have most of their power at frequencies between 200 and 3000 Hz.

While humpback have been making a slow but steady comeback within the Salish Sea from when whalers extirpated them, the chronology of recent humpback sightings and hearings within the Salish Sea suggests humpbacks were previously only heard vocalizing in October-December. This observations begs some intriguing questions:

  • Will we hear any humpback vocalization in February?
  • Given that humpbacks have been sighted within the Salish sea in January (2017) and then again as early as March (2015) or April (2016), are some individuals remaining within the Salish Sea year-round?
  • And of those individuals, are some continuing to vocalize? An alternative hypothesize regarding the fall “singers” is that they are just warming up within the Salish Sea as they depart for the breeding grounds in the tropical Pacific (off Hawaii, Mexico, and/or Central America) where they famously emit much longer sequences of sounds, aka humpback whale song.
A humpback whale breaches in Haro Strait. (Credit beamreach.org, 2011)

Pending further bioacoustic analysis, here is the full 19-minute recording for your enjoyment, starting from about 18:00 on Tuesday, January 7, 2020:

Haro humpback sound recording (19:05)

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