Humpback Whales Feed With Friends

If you know anything about humpback whale feeding behavior–and most people don’t, so don’t worry–you know about bubble nets. Humpback whales blow bubbles in a spiral around their prey, then lunge for giant mouthfuls of water and critters. They squish the water out through the sieve-like baleen, and voila! Dinner.

A new study describes another way that humpbacks can eat: near the bottom, with their friends. I wrote about it for the National Geographic website. Be sure to watch the video, which was taken by a camera stuck on the back of a whale as it ate sand lance, a little finger-sized fish.

I got to go out with these researchers in Cape Cod Bay in the summer of 2011. I was just a few feet away from enormous whales lunging after food and motorboating along the surface, mouth open. It was awe-inspiring.

Unfortunately, while I was allowed to take pictures for my own personal use under the scientists’ permit, I can’t share them online, so you’re going to have to settle for this humpback photo I took on a commercial whale-watching trip in Maui earlier that year. Hey, it’s the right species, anyway.

humpback whale in Maui

Humpback Whale Crittercam Video Reveals Bottom-Feeding Activity

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