Jun 23, 2023 - News

New whale babies arrive in Seattle's seas

Humpback whale "Poptart" and her calf seen for the first time this year in the Salish Sea. Photo courtesy of Anthony Kaulfuss/Prince of Whales

The year's first humpback whale calves and their moms have triumphantly crossed into the Salish Sea.

Driving the news: "Poptart" — or BCY1404, who was first spotted as a calf herself in 2016 — is now accompanied by a baby of her own, her first.

  • They're arriving for their annual feeding session after a long journey from distant places such as Hawaii, where they were seen earlier this year, according to the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA).
  • Whale watchers have documented at least three new humpback calves, including Poptart's little one.

Catch up quick: Poptart — the daughter of BCY0324, aka "Big Mama"— got her nickname because she was often seen breaching completely out of the water, reminding whale watchers of the popular breakfast pastry popping out of a toaster, according to PWWA. She is among the region's most well-known whale visitors.

  • Other mothers with new babies this year are BCY0523 "Graze" and BCX1675 "Strike." Both Graze and Strike are second-time mothers with young born in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
A small whale jumps in the air next to its mother in the ocean.
"Big Mama" and a young "Poptart" in 2016. Photo courtesy of Brooke McKinley/Outer Island Excursions.

What they're saying: "We celebrate every whale's return, but it's doubly special when they have a new calf in tow," said PWWA executive director Erin Gless.

Be smart: Our local humpback whales usually give birth between late December and February in warmer breeding grounds near Hawaii, Mexico and Central America, making these calves around four to six months old, PWWA said.

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