2014 : Best Humpback Whale Photos - maui-mike


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One of the more endearing maternal behaviors exhibited by Humpback mothers is shown in the following 2-frame sequence I captured back in early January: In it you can see (#1) a very young calf, possibly only a week old, resurfacing after an all-too-brief dive as its mother comes up behind her tired calf, and (#2) lifts the novice swimmer gently onto her large rostrom (her long, protruding upper jaw) and pushes it to the surface where it can rest. This is a commonly seen behavior, and it’s not unusual for the newborn to rest for some time on its mother’s head. It’s believed that, because newborns have such a limited lung capacity and can only stay submerged for 4 or 5 minutes at a time (adults have been known to stay down for more than an hour at a time), mothers repeat this behavior, gradually building up junior’s lung capacity with progressively longer stints below the surface.
11 January 2014