2011 07 11- Summary of five year's of statistics to date Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

In the past five seasons we have identified 455 individual humpback whales in Bermuda waters and so far have matched 128 of these, mostly to the North Atlantic Humpback Whale catalogue but also to the Provincetown Centre for Coastal Studies catalogue and two private catalogues, one in Newfoundland the other in St. Pierre et Miquelon.


We have seen 47 of these 455 whales in more than one season in Bermuda waters with remarkable similarities in the dates of observation year-to-year. One whale we have seen all five years.


We have identified many whales in the same season over a period ranging from two to six days. This year we identified two whales on Challenger Bank over an eight-day period, a sign that the humpbacks do not simply bypass Bermuda and its adjacent seamounts.


In addition to these statistics we have underwater video footage of different aspects of the social behaviour of the humpbacks. Often this underwater video footage confirms the gender of the whale and can also confirm the age- a calf from this season, a yearling, or a juvenile. Perhaps most remarkable this year was underwater video footage of two humpbacks grooming themselves in a sand hole in 40 feet of water. This scratching included the back, abdomen, chin, eyes, head and pectoral fins of the whales. Humpback experts in the Caribbean and Hawaii tell me they have never witnessed humpbacks demonstrating this behaviour in the breeding grounds. Subsequent repeated observations of this behaviour indicate that this activity may be another reason the humpbacks visit the shallow waters of the Bermuda platform.


We will keep you update with these statistics as we make them.



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