It’s whale watching season for the Gray Whales in San Diego and the height of the season is this Saturday’s San Diego Big Bay Whale Festival. In honor of this weekend’s festival, we wanted to share some really cool websites we’ve found about the Gray Whales. The first one is Journey North’s Gray Whale Sightings. Journey North is an organization that focuses on citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events.
We like their Gray Whale Sightings Map in particular. Observation posts are highlighted with a yellow stars and actual sightings are denoted with a blue circle. The second website we really like is National Geographic’s page about the Gray Whales. National Geographic shares a lot of great information about the species of whales. They include a map of common areas where gray whales can be found and fast facts about Gray Whales. Some of the fast facts include:
Size: 40 to 50 ft (12.2 to 15.3 m)
Weight: 30 to 40 tons (27,200 to 36,300 kg)
Group name: Pod
Protection status: Recovered
Size relative to a bus:
Illustration: Gray whale compared with bus
The third website we enjoy is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Alaska Fisheries Science Center. NOAA presents a great FAQ about the gray whales, including some very interesting tidbits:
Gray whales used to be known as “devilfish” because they fiercely defend themselves and their calves against whalers. There are now about 18,000 gray whales in the Eastern Pacific stock. The eastern North Pacific stock of gray whales was removed from the endangered species list in 1994, however they are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The gray whale Western Pacific stock was believed to be extinct until 1925 when a few gray whales were seen off the coast of Siberia. There are still very few sightings of these whales
The last site that we love is our friends and partners at the San Diego Natural History Museum. They have some great video, which you can also watch below:
To learn more about the Gray Whales, visit the San Diego Big Bay Whale Festival on Saturday, January 25 at the Port Pavilion on the Broadway Pier.