The southern resident killer whales (SRKWs) are fish-eating orcas that frequent the Salish Sea and are heard live on the Orcasound hydrophones every few days during the summer months. They emit a wonderfully diverse repertoire of calls — almost 40 distinct signals within the hearing range of humans — but most of us would be hard-pressed to learn to recognize them all.
Conveniently, a few calls are used almost exclusively by each southern resident pod. This means that by memorizing just 3 calls, you can tell with great certainty that you are hearing a particular pod of orcas!
We present the 3 favorite calls in 3 different ways:
- a modern spectrogram;
- a clip taken from the original tapes (Ford-Osborne, circa 1981);
- and the spectrogram presented in the original call classification catalog (Ford 1987 – A catalogue of underwater calls produced by killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British Columbia).
To download the audio files, you can click on the icon on the right side of each web-based player below, or you can download all combinations of the audio files using the handy links we provide at the bottom of the page.
J pod’s favorite call (“S01”)
K pod’s favorite call (“S16”)
L pod’s favorite call (“S19”)
Handy download links:
Here are links to the three calls in mp3 format, ogg format, or both!