Whales of British Columbia's North Coast
The information and photographs contained on this website are the result of 20 years of living alongside the majestic whales of northern BC. By reflecting on the time we have spent with our neighbours, we are only just beginning to understand their nutritional, spatial, acoustic and social needs. If there is anything we have learned, it is that there is so much left to know about whales. It has also been increasingly clear over the years just how distinctly unique the personality and culture of each individual species is and how they behave and interact with each other. Some whales display tendencies towards loneliness or shyness, while others choose a close circle of companions.
The return of humpback whales to the coast of British Columbia has been dramatic. We now sight humpbacks on a daily basis during the field season. Thanks to this high abundance we have been able to gain great insight into the social behaviour and habitat use of this robust cetacean.
Three distinct lineages of killer whales share the coastal waters of northern British Columbia; northern residents, transients and offshores, each with a unique social structure and dialect. These lineages do not mix with each other and specialize in very different prey resources. Transient and resident orca are sighted most frequently in our research area.
Fin whales are the second largest mammal on the planet (only the blue whale is larger). They where first documented along the north coast by NCCS in 2006. Since that time, sightings have become increasingly frequent indicating that fin whales are beginning to re-occupy this area. By the end of 2015 the number of individual fin whales sighted had increased from 3 to 61.