Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Posts tagged ‘bubble net feeding’

Bubbling Giants: Humpback Whales Bubble-Net Feeding

This is going to be worth the 4 minutes of viewing believe me!

Humpback Whales have many complex feeding strategies. In areas where current and birds do not force the feed together, there are Humpbacks that work as a team to corral the fish. This strategy includes an intense feeding call and making a net of bubbles.

This video was taken while I was with Pacific Wild in Caamano Sound off British Columbia’s Central Coast.

This is exactly the area where there is the potential of increased tanker traffic.

Knowing how important this area is – not only for at-risk Humpback, Fin and Killer Whales; but for human health and so much more – is a huge motivator to do all I can do reduce the demand for fossil fuels.

For more on the feeding strategies of Humpback Whales, please see our Marine Education and Research Society research at this link. It includes that we have published on a never-before-documented strategy we have dubbed “trap-feeding”.

Mind-Blowing Crittercam Video – Humpback Calf Nursing Underwater and Watching Mother Group Bubble-Net

Update October 26, 2018. Additional Crittercam video of a calf nursing from CNRS/ Cétamada recorded on the breeding ground on the east coast of Madagascar at Ste Marie Island.


Update December 19, 2012: The National Geographic video I had posted below has been pulled from YouTube.
Explanation from D.Gold who posted it there:
“Note to The Marine Detective and readers: Sorry to say, I removed this video from my youtube account today. I received a request. National Geographic has plans for broadcasting the footage. A scientist and producer asked that I take the youtube down for now. The quality will be much better when you see it on their channel anyway. I think they picked up on this getting a fair amount of attention thru this website and the social media in the past week. The reason I posted the video is expressed perfectly by the Marine Detective’s blog post, “Mind-Blowing Crittercam Video – Humpback Calf Nursing Underwater and Watching Mother Group Bubble-Net”.  . . I feel much the same as you do  . . .. I wanted to share the education of this presentation on my channel, but alas, this particular youtube will not be available. Keep searching and hopefully Nat Geo will show “The most goose-bump inducing, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, consciousness-raising” footage.: “

Screen grab from

Crittercam video screen grab showing humpback calf nursing underwater.  Screen grab from Birgit Buhleier’s presentation.

My original post December 9, 2012:

The most goose-bump inducing, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, consciousness-raising video I have ever seen I viewed in October 2009 in Quebec at the 18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, and I have been waiting for it to appear on-line ever since.

Today, I found it and think it will have the same impact on you.

The quality of the video is not ideal as it is the result of someone filming the original footage but – it will do!

What you will see, starting at time-stamp 2:50 is the result of Dr.Fred Sharpe’s research team having, rather randomly, put a Crittercam (camera on a suction cup) on a humpback whale calf in Alaska.

Video screen grab of calf with Crittercam watching mother and 11 other adult humpbacks cooperative bubble-net feeding.

Crittercam video screen grab of calf watching his mother and 11 other adult humpbacks cooperative bubble-net feeding.

In 6 minutes of video, the 6 to 7 month-old calf “gifts” the world with the following:

  • Footage of him nursing underwater which reveals how synchronized this is, with mother tapping her calf with her tail seemingly to signal “and stop now”.  You will even see the calf burp and, with streams of milk streaming past the calf, you will gain an understanding of how rich and copious the milk must be to support the incredible growth rate of baleen babies.
  • Then, at timestamp 5:48, you’ll see what caused the large international crowd of marine mammal scientists to collectively gasp when Fred Sharp shared this with us in 2009. The calf settles down at the ocean bottom at around 150 ‘ (46 m) and watches specter-like shapes rise to the surface  . . . adult humpback whales, including mom, cooperative bubble-net feeding.

Only 6 minutes of video – such depth revealed.

The presentation that had been filmed was given by Birgit Buhleier, National Geographic’s naturalist and underwater video producer,  aboard the National Geographic vessel “Sea Lion” in SE Alaska in the summer of 2012.

Please if you find the footage somewhere else, let me know!  

Time stamp: 2:50 – Humpback calf nursing underwater; 5:48 calf watching mother group bubble net-feeding