Got Whales?

Photo by Dave Ellifrit
K1 and friends
Photo by Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research
The orcas that inhabit Washington's Inland waters are majestic and mysterious, but they are in danger of suffering from depletion of salmon and toxic pollution. From May to October, the approximately 88 orcas of the Salish Sea orca community are seen almost every day, and may be observed in the Salish Sea well into January, but starting around November they often head out to the ocean, possibly following salmon migration. In winter months they've been found along the coasts of Washington and Oregon, and as far south as Monterey Bay. Scientists are trying to track the whales' movements to learn where the whales go to find salmon and where it's most important that toxic chemicals are cleaned up.

From March through May gray whales are also commonly found in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and Saratoga Passage. Humpbacks have also been seen occasionally in inland waters, as well as minke whales, especially north and south of the San Juan Islands.

Reports to the Orca Network Sightings Network are distributed to all other sightings networks. Your reports will be sent promptly to the Northwest Fisheries Science Center of NOAA Fisheries, the Center for Whale Research, Cascadia Research, the Whale Museum Hotline and the BC Sightings Network. In addition, your sightings will be sent out to the Orca Network Sightings Network, a list of over 2500 (and growing) residents, scientists, and government agency personnel in the US and Canada. To report any sightings or strandings of whales, please email or phone:

Orca Network
toll-free at 866-ORCANET (672-2638)
(Click HERE if you would like to be included to receive sightings on the Sightings Network email list.)
Important information you can provide:

Type of whale seen (orca, gray whale, etc.)

Number of animals seen?

Where did you see them (latitude and longitude if possible)?

What direction were they traveling?

When did you see them (date and time of day)?

What were they doing? Playing? Feeding (on what)?

Were there any males (very large fin on their back)?

Any unusual markings? Scars?

Have you seen whales in this area before?

Did you get photos that may identify individuals?

Thanks so much for your help!




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