Ways of Whales Workshop
Saturday, January 29, 2011
9:30 - 4:30 PM
Coupeville Middle School Performing Arts Center
Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA
Orcas say the darndest things
Of course we have no idea what they're saying, but we know that each community of orcas has their own completely distinct vocabulary. We find orcas from two communities ("residents" and "transients") in the Salish Sea, so that's two different languages spoken around here that we can't understand. Monika Wieland of San Juan Island has been listening to orcaspeak for over a decade, and she'll bring us up to date on her interpretations of their sounds and the science of orca vocalizations at the Ways of the Whales Workshop on January 29 in Coupeville.
In addition to Wieland's discussion of orca calls, the all-day symposium, sponsored by Orca Network at the Coupeville Middle/High School Performing Arts Center will feature John Calambokidis, director of Cascadia Research in Olympia and the leading researcher in our state on gray whales, humpback whales, and blue whales. John will share his latest research on these species and will also tell us what he thinks about the strange appearance of two Brydes whales and two bottlenose dolphins seen in Puget Sound this past year, species that normally shouldn't be within a thousand miles of here.
Suzanne Chisholm from British Columbia will bring us news and video from her recent visit to Taiji, Japan to observe and film the dolphin drive, in which thousands of dolphins and whales are brutally slaughtered each year. Suzanne will also give an update on her film about Luna the wayward L pod whale, and the latest news about Morgan, another lost and lonely orca, this time in Holland.
Dr. Bradley Hanson from NOAA Fisheries NW Fisheries and Science Center will tell us about his revealing field research into the eating habits of our endangered Southern Resident orcas and his efforts to figure out where they go in the winter. Dr. Hanson's presentation will focus on the development of a remotely-deployed satellite tag that is attached with small darts to the dorsal fin of cetaceans. Examples of some of the new insights gained from the application of this technology will be presented for several species in Hawaii and on the U.S. west coast.
Rounding out the program will be former SeaWorld trainer Carol Ray of Seattle with news from the world of captive orca displays. After the tragic death of a trainer at a SeaWorld park a year ago the company is facing a series of legal troubles. Carol is one of a group of ex-trainers who have collaborated on a paper released last week detailing the stresses and chronic health issues that plague captive orcas and lead them to act out with hostility toward trainers.
Back to those orca calls. For the past three decades researchers have listened, recorded and analyzed these enchanting whistles, squeaks, honks and raspberries, and found distinct patterns, to the point that particular families can be identified just by hearing them speak. Monika will help us learn to tell who we're hearing and how anyone can listen in live on the internet whenever they pass by San Juan Island.
The Ways of Whales workshop is from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm, Saturday January 29 at the Coupeville Middle/High School performing arts center. Cost of the workshop is $25, and lunch will be available for purchase on-site to pre-registered participants. More information and online registration can be found at:
. Questions? Contact Orca Network at 360-678-3451 or E-Mail