Washington's Coast
Washington State Department of Ecology

BEACHES
PLANTS
 
ANIMALS
razor clam
gray whale
humpback whale
butterfly
plover
crab
Breaching Humpback Whale on the Pacific horizon
Summer feeding and migration
Humpback Whales can be seen off Washington's coast, where some spend their summers feeding. When winter arrives, Humpbacks migrate to Mexico or Hawaii. They may travel 5000 miles or more to warmer waters to breed.
Humpback anatomy
The singing whale
  • Sea songs
    The male Humpback whale sings some of the loudest, most complex songs on earth. The male may sing for a few minutes, an hour, or days. Songs are made of sighs, snores, shines, trills, and whines.
  • Big flippers
    The Humpback's long slender flippers are about one-third the length of the body -- the longest of any cetacean.
  • Bumps or tubercles
    The Humpback's head and lower jaw are dotted with rounded knobs called tubercles.
  • Amazing leaps and aerial feats
    Humpbacks frequently breach, leaping clear out of the water.
  • Offshore habitat
    Primary Humpback habitat is offshore waters -- continental shelf and seaward. In the past, some Humpbacks have wandered into coastal bays.
The Humpback Whale often raises its flukes when diving. The markings on each Humpback tail are unique.
To corral fish or other prey, Humpbacks blow bubbles in a spiral. Once the prey have gathered, the whales swim up the spiral and feed. Humpbacks feed on krill and small schooling fish such as herring, sandlance, and sardines.
Trash kills whales  
Whales can mistake plastic bags and other trash for food. In time, a whale's digestive system becomes so blocked, it dies of starvation. Protect marine life. Don't litter.
Images courtesy of: The American Cetacean Society; Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife; The Marine Mammal Laboratory, NOAA

Marine Mammals, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA Common marine mammals off Washington's coast. What to do if you find a stranded marine mammal.

Humpback Whale Fact Sheet, The American Cetacean Society Humpback whale description, distribution, feeding, behavior, and mating.

Marine Mammal Laboratory, NOAA The National Marine Mammal Laboratory conducts research on marine mammals worldwide, with a particular focus on Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

Humpback Whale, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Notebook Life history facts about humpback whales.

Humpback Whale Photos, Oregon State University Marine Mammal Program Humpback whale animations, research, photos, and links.


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