March 21: Early Start for Cow/Calf Phase

The first phase (non-calves) of the northbound gray whale migration had an early peak see chart) and the second phase (moms with babies) is starting. Near Los Angeles, The Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project at Point Vicente had already spotted 16 calves by the first day of spring! Michael H. Smith, Director of Gray Whales Count near Santa Barbara reported their first sighting of a northbound baby gray on March 17. They spotted their second calf on March 20, the first day of spring. "The migration is switching phases to cow/calf pairs, which migrate past us much closer to shore. In about ten days to two weeks, almost all the whales will be mothers with calves." Hear a radio interview with Director Smith on the job with Gray Whales Count.

The whale rush is just in time for Spring Whale Watch Week, March 19 - 26, at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Volunteers staff coastal sites as people come from all over the world to learn about the gray whales migrating past the Oregon coast.

Gray whale mother and calf migrating past Los Angeles