Our Sitka Whale Watching experience is brought to you by Captain Cody Loomis and his wife, Marlie.

    Sitka Whale

    Sitka Whale Watch

    The Meaning of a Whale Song

    Many people have heard the sounds of baleen whales in Southeast Alaska, such as the humpback whale and the blue whale, but do not know the meaning of a whale song. Here, you will learn what these sounds mean. These whales produce a haunting melody to some, but to others, the sounds resemble the notes of a song.  

    Who Are These Musical Artists? 

    The two whales responsible for making these majestic songs are humpback whales and blue whales. However, humpback whales only make these sounds during their mating season, and it’s only the male humpback whales doing it as well. Here is a fun fact, the blue whale is also the largest animal globally.  

    What Is the Meaning of These Songs? 

    Other species and some whales also will make sounds during feeding times and when they are lonely or have lost a loved one. These different sounds and sometimes songs differ from those heard during the whales’ mating season. Males communicate in this way to attract a partner. The songs during the mating periods are believed to show females that they are healthy, youthful, and fit.  

    You can sometimes hear them when a male is escorting a female to another destination or in a group of competing males. There are also times when males will sing in unison, even if they are far apart. When two or more males are close to each other, there could be competition, confrontation, and aggression between them. Male whales in the same area may often sing the same song version. They will do this over large distances, too. However, at the same time, whales in another region or hemisphere may sing the same version of a different song but still in unison with the other whales in that particular area.  

    How Loud Are The Songs?

    The songs are very loud, deep, and at a low frequency (20Hz – 10 kHz). They can also be heard many miles away and can last for hours or days at a time. Individual songs can last a few minutes up to a half-hour, and after they may be repeated.  

    These songs are considered one of the most complex non-human communication forms in existence. Within the animal kingdom, few species can communicate with predictable melodies and repeated notes as they were in a chorus. They are very similar in tone to man-made music, but there is not much more information about the meanings of these songs.  

    Additionally, whales will communicate through body language, as well. They can often be seen breaching, charging, lunging, and tail slapping. Other whale species will also communicate, but through whistles and clicks with one another. Visit us at Sitka Whale Watch for a musical experience like no other! 

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