Monday, May 14, 2007

Bay of Fundy Whales

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is, "What kind of whales am I going to see and how many?" Though I would very much like to predict that for you, I can only tell you what you may see. In May, the whales are only starting to arrive from their winter breeding grounds. Usually the first to arrive are the minke whales. This species is the smallest of the baleen whales, only reaching lengths of 10 metres.

This species is easy to identify as when they come to the surface, they don't have a visible spout when they exhale as the larger whales do. The first part of the whale that does surface is their pointed nose and fishermen gave them the name "little piked whales" because of that physical feature. Also, they have white bands on their pectoral flippers. Minke whales are seen worldwide and are the most numerous. It is estimated there are up to a million of this species in the world. Sadly, they are the only whale that is being commercially hunted today.
As for how many, baleen whales are solitary by nature so they are usually by their lonesome or if feeling social may be with one or two other individuals. These are temporary groupings and are not pods. The pods are formed by toothed whales who are in permanant group structures such as the orca who form family groups.

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