It’s that time of year once again when we say goodbye to the Gray Whale. This whale which is common along the west coast of North America is known in the science circle as Eschrichtius robustus. In California you can see the Gray’s traveling southbound to their mating and birthing sites in Baja California from December to the end of January. Typically, in March and early April you will see them going north again where they find their food in the nutrient rich waters of the Arctic seas.
This magnificent mammal has one of the longest migration routes of any animal in the world. They travel from the protected coves in Baja to the Bering and Chukchi Seas in the Arctic. Some travel as far as 12,000 miles round trip.
Gray Whales have a unique way of feeding which is different from any other whale. They have baleen which are sieve-like plates made out of the same substance as our hair and nails. Most baleen whales use these plates to filter out plankton, small fish and squid. Gray’s use their baleen plates which are about 18 inches long to suck up mud on the ocean floor which is filled with shrimp and other crustaceans. They always feed on their right side which makes the baleen on this side longer and more robust.
There are so many fun facts about the Gray Whale! Join us on one of our Winter Baja Whale Expeditions to actually pet these gentle giants! Or join us on one of our family camps and encounter all sorts of marine life on Catalina Island.
Founder and Marine Science Educator