Where and Why do Whales Migrate

Whales are known to migrate for thousands of miles every year without fail. Different whales form different patterns when it comes to observing their migration. Some of them might go between north and south, while some of them just go onshore and offshore, or some whales do both.

The reason behind whales migrating and where they migrate is a mystery to many. The same we will uncover and will try to provide you with an interesting write-up about whale migration.

Whales Migration Patterns

In total, there are more than 80 species of whales; not all of them are fully understood, but we have data about the famous ones. To understand it generally, whales migrate to colder places in summer and warmer places in winter.

They do it for two things mainly: for feeding and breeding. Whales migrate to colder regions in summer to feed in huge. After their feast period is over and winter comes, these whales move to warmer regions to reproduce. In warmer and tropical areas, their babies can survive better. So, these are mainly two reasons behind whales’ migration every year.

Which Whales Migrate?

You might think that since migration is necessary for their survival, all whales must be migrating somewhere. However, this is not entirely true! Humpback young ones may not travel far as adults because they simply don’t need to reproduce. They generally stay in the same water and use the prey there.

Gray whales migrate between Alaska and Russia and Baja California. Right whales that live in the North Atlantic prefer to move between Northeastern US to South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Humpback whales move simply between northern grounds for feeding and southern breeding grounds.

Blue whales that normally reside in the Pacific migrate from California to Mexico and Costa Rica.

Migration Distance Covered

As scientists often observe the behavior of whales to progress with their study on whales, they also record the average distance traveled by each whale species. For example, Gray whales travel around 10,000-12,000 miles around Baja California to Bering and Chukchi Seas.

Even greater than this, a grey whale in 2015 traveled 13,988 miles in 172 days from Russia to Mexico and back again; as sighted by the recorders.

Humpback whales also migrate thousands of miles, such as a humpback that was sighted traveling 5,100 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula to Colombia in August 1986.

Gray and humpback are the whales who migrate such long distances. Not all whales travel such a distance, and the data about several other species like fin whales is still not available.

What Do Whales Eat?

In case you are wondering what all these whales eat. Whales mostly feed on krill, which is a kind of fish found in the world’s oceans. Whales also include other sea creatures in their diet; copepod crustaceans and small fish also matter to their taste buds. Herring and anchovies are other small schooling fish that are also hunted by whales.