Home of the White Song Whale

A Beluga Whale rolls on the surface to breath in the lower right.
This Turnagain Arm, a tributary inlet to Cook Inlet, home of a unique group the the singing white whales.
 IMGP6576 a Home of the White Song Whale

Beluga whales live in and near the cold waters of the Arctic and Subarctic regions around the globe. There are 5 Beluga groups in Alaska, 4 of them have overlapping territories. Cook Inlet whales are unique in that they stay resident here and do not interaction with other groups.

After a decline in population of about half in the 1990’s, for reasons not well understood, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated this group as Depleted. They are protected from hunting, except by natives, under the Marine Mammal Protections Act of 1972. It is also illegal to harass whales, and there is a reward for turning in anyone who harasses or kills one.

They are the only whale that can swing their neck side to side, and they can move their mouth in such a way to appear to have expressions, which may be a form of communication. They lack a dorsal fin, which would inhibit their swimming under ice to locate a breathing hole. They have a prominent melon on their forehead, which is composed of fat and is related to sound production.

Belugas use echo location (emitting sound and receiving sound waves that bounce off objects) to navigate and identify and discern prey, and their audible clicks whistles and other sounds make up the largest communication vocabulary of any whales. They have been called canneries of the sea for their sounds, which include whistles, squeals, clucks, mews, chips, trills and bell-like tones.

Belugas prey on about 100 different kinds of animals, mostly bottom dwellers, such as octopus, squid, crabs, shrimp, clams, cod herring and flounder. They also hunt schooling fish such as the salmon they chase on the incoming tide. The hunt in groups of up to 12, and herd the fish before attacking. They have about 34-40 pointed teeth in two rows, which are made not for chewing, but for catching and tearing prey, which they swallow whole.

A baby (calf) Beluga waves its tail in the air while doing antics with another calf.

IMGP6825 a Whale Tail Wave

An adult whale pair surfaces, While moving and feeding they seldom lift their head enough to see their face.

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Whale watchers gather to see the pod as they swim along very near the shore and follow the salmon on the in tide.

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Diversity is a word you hear thrown out by bureaucrats in government and corporate America. There is no policy, law or regulation that will ever bring people together in such diversity as the simple and honest beauty and majesty of gentle creatures like these whales.

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This first video slide show I put together with some of my recent photographs and an audio clip I found on the internet.

I found this video also on You Tube and it shows the Beluga Whale’s face and gentle social nature in an aquarium environment.


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19 Responses to Home of the White Song Whale

  1. Cat says:

    Techno pop!!! I\’m so tired from these damn projects so I had to take a break and come visit – I\’d never heard the belugas before – had no idea – chatty bunch – and it reminds me I need to cruise yr Flickr photos – thank you for sharing such beauty – and glad you liked the video – it was perfect for so many friends

  2. I says:

       This is just like reading a book. informative and wonderful pictures to go along with it. I love their cute lil faces.
       xo T~

  3. Sheila says:

         I like the way you told us about the whales and showed us the pictures. I love to learn something new, so today I learned something. Thanks.

  4. Rhonda says:

    Wonderful blog and I enjoyed learning about these spectacular mammals.  Great photos and videos.
    Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. Babblelot says:

    This has been wonderful to learn of the white whale. They are beautiful.The sounds they make are incredible. Reminded me of the movie "Down Periscope" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Mx1kA3irk) and the guy could do whale sounds. Ennaway I enjoyed this Steve!

  6. KatSoup says:

    I have no sound right now.  The photographs are breathtaking as usual, but there was that baby tail pic that made me tear up.  I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. The foot hills of the appalachian mountains. But, I will never see what you see like whales and other wonderful sights/ .  I am so glad that you share with me.

  7. Vieille Ourse says:

    Wonderful animals. Thanks for sharing these pictures, Steve.I am going to send the link to my daughter who loves whales …
    Have a nice day and hugs from sunny Belgium,

  8. Here I Am says:

    Love how you put it all together.  Learned something and saw some great photos.  I can\’t believe the sounds they make.  Thanks for shareing.   Take Care

  9. J W says:

    You continue to become better and better Steve.  You are a true professional in many ways.  Should you leave, the void would be most difficult to fill.  The book?  Remember?

  10. Karolyn says:

    What can I say??? That\’s so splendid! Pictures are unique! Explanations, why were you not my teacher at school? You are so great Steve!
    Thanks for sharing with all of us,

  11. Rambling says:

    as always I am smiling because of visiting your site and seeing the riches of Alaska.  And as always, sorry that I will never see those sights in person.  But this is almost as good because your photography is so good.

  12. Flo says:

    Awesome. I\’ve seen Belugas at Sea World near Orlando, Florida, but that\’s not the same. Maybe someday I\’ll get to see them in the wild. Maybe. Until then, great pics. You live in an amazing place.

  13. Jacque says:

    What amazing creatures!

  14. Ann says:

    I have been a "Whale Hugger" since the early 70\’s. I still can not understand how anyone could kill one of these intelligent, gentle souls.

  15. Charlotte M Simonsen says:

    How interesting!  I don\’t think I have ever heard of a Beluga whale before.  Coming here is like going to a class on Alaska, only so much more interesting with the pictures you share.  Thank you and have a good weekend. hugs, lottemae

  16. T says:

    Dear Steve I love this blog!
    So many new informations for me and great two videos. What an interesting sounds those Beluga whales do … wow.
    Have a great sunday!

  17. Sherry says:

    I went whale watching in Hawaii and I was enthralled. The are amazing animals.

  18. KingfisherRaven says:

    Wonderful to see these Steve I watched 3 Killer Whales earlier this year out on the North Sea as they hunted for Mackerel fantastic to watch !

  19. PEP says:

    Pretty cool Steve

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