The big question still is: Why do these mammals embark on these seasonal movements?
Climate changes, water temperature, depth, salinity, topography of the sea floor and the biggest, abundance of food, all plays a major roll in these events.
Although most baleen whales are found in all oceans, they still take on these extensive migrations. These migrations are time-coupled to the breeding/mating season.
Whales travel to cold waters for feeding; they go to warmer waters to give birth. One of the most dramatic whales that visits the waters off Vancouver Island are the humpback whale, whose Latin name Megaptera novaeangliae means "big-winged New Englander." It is known for its spectacular leaps and long, white side flippers.
The Hawaiian Islands has made these whales' birthing grounds, After giving birth during the winter or early spring, mothers bring their calves to the rich feeding grounds off of the Pacific Northwest. Like all mammals, the mothers nurse their young. A 10-15 foot baby humpback may nurse as long as a year, adding up to 15 feet in length each month. An adult humpback may grow to be up to 50 feet long.
Grey Whales Migration
The basic migration pattern follows that of most baleen whales, ie between: winter breeding grounds in low latitude, warm waters and summer feeding areas in higher latitudes, cool waters
i) Western North Pacific This tiny, remnant population migrates north from winter calving grounds off the Korean Peninsula and Japan, to summer feeding grounds in the northern Okhotsk Sea.
ii) Eastern North Pacific gray whales make a mammoth 20,000 km (12,400 mile) round trip between their southern breeding grounds off Baja California, Mexico and their northern feeding grounds off British Columbia, Alaska and the Beaufort Sea.
April - November: Arctic feeding grounds
[October - February: migrates south]
December - April: Hawaii breeding grounds
[February - July: migrates north]
In the early winter, they move south to breed in the warm, shallow lagoons along the Mexican coast. The most popular breeding lagoons are San Ignacio lagoon, Scammon's lagoon, and Magdalena Bay, on the Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico. Around February, the grays migrate north to feed in Arctic waters, northwest of Alaska and where we photograph them, off the coast of British Columbia. A few - mainly younger - whales make a shorter journey north from Mexico, stopping off along the coastline stretching between northern California, Oregon, Washington State, USA, and British Columbia, Canada.
Lots of feeding behavior has been observed in all parts of the range, and around Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, grays are present year-round.
Why don't you join me on my Pacific Northwest Photography Workshops when we follow Humpback Whales, Orca Whales and fill in the time with Grizzly bear and Black Bears...
In 2017 I will be going in September. All the details are here. http://www.kevinpepperphotography.com/2017-pacific-northwest-photo-tour
in 2018 I will be going in September. All the details are here. http://www.kevinpepperphotography.com/2018-pacific-northwest-photo-tour