Humpback whales over the past seven years have become a common sight in our viewing area. Rather than traveling to the Alaskan waters to feed they are spending their summers along the southern coast of British Columbia. The colder, coastal waters attract the humpbacks because in the summer months the area is rich in prey, including small schooling fish such as herring, capelin, and pilchard, as well as krill. The whale will lunge through a shoal of prey with mouth gaping open often exploding at the surface with both food and water. They may eat up to 1,400 kg (3,000 lbs) of food a day.
One method of feeding we often see with humpback whales is “Lunge Feeding”. The whale will lunge through a shoal of prey with mouth gaping open often exploding at the surface with both food and water. In this case the photo shows the top of the humpback’s head with its lower jaw hanging open. Humpback whales do not feed in the warmer climates of Hawaii and Mexico where they spend the winter so it makes sense that once they arrive in their feeding grounds, this will occupy most of their time. Humpback whales in our area will feed small, shoaling fish such as herring. They may eat up to 1,400 kg (3,000 lbs.) of food a day.