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Humpback Whale Migration Update: February 3, 1998
Humpback Whale Migration Updates Will be Posted on WEDNESDAYS:
Feb. 4, 18, Mar. 4, 18, Apr. 1, 15, 29, May 12, 26
Ahoy there. This is Anne Smrcina, education coordinator of the Stellwagen
Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Plymouth, MA with the first right whale and humpback whale report. These
reports will be coming to you every two weeks according to the schedule above -- unless I get some really exciting
news that can't wait.
Right now most of the whales are down in their calving and breeding grounds. In the case of the Humpback Whales
whales, those from Stellwagen Bank (off the tip of Cape Cod) and the Gulf of Maine, along with populations from
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador/Newfoundland head down to the Caribbean.
Migration Route of Atlantic Humpback Whales
Map courtesy of
Dr. Carol Gersmehl and Debbie Bojar
The major concentration of whales can be found near Silver Bank off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Can
you find Silver Bank on this map? (To enlarge map, click on face of image.) This area has been named a Humpback
Whale Marine Sanctuary by the Dominican Republic and is a sister sanctuary to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
In the waters of Silver Bank (and stretching between the Bahamas and the Grenedines), the pregnant females have
their calves, and the other mature males and females seek mates. It is here that the "songs" of the
whales (males) are usually heard. And while a good portion of the population does make it down to the warm Caribbean
waters, some whales, especially juveniles, probably don't make the long commute. (Since they're not of breeding
age, perhaps they don't think the effort is worth it.) Instead, some may just stay where the feeding is good.
I saw about 15 small humpbacks feasting on sand lance at Stellwagen Bank during the Christmas Bird Count (Dec.
I'll have more information on humpbacks whales for you in two weeks. Let's hope for a healthy and productive whale
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
The Next Humpback Whale Migration Update will Be Posted on February 18, 1998.