Monday, December 28, 2009

This Week in Nature: The last week in December - Fin whale

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the last week in December:

Fin whales pass the islands about now, en route to the warm waters of the equatorial region.  Second only in size to blue whales, fin whales average 65 feet in length and may attain swimming speeds as high as 20 miles an hour. Usually they keep to the deep sea, but occasional sightings and strandings have been reported in Hawaii. A fin whale spotted off Hale'iwa was apparently enjoying a meal of 'ōpelu.

Their passage through Hawaiian waters coincides with fin whales' peak calving and mating period, so newborns - 19 feet long at birth - are likely to be among our visitors. Mating may occur here as well. Recordings made off Ka'ena Point indicate that females swim south first, followed by males singing courting songs.

To learn more about fin whales, visit the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' Marine Mammals page

Taken from "Hawaii: A calendar of Natural Events" 
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

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