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Gray Whale Northbound Migration Through Monterey Bay

gray whale northbound migration

Gray whale northbound migration through Monterey Bay happens twice per year. Once starting in December on their southbound journey to their breeding grounds heading back to Monterey in March with their calves. In this short video, Marine Biologist Evan Firl talks about their northbound migration back to Monterey Bay with their calves and why you just might want to come whale watching to catch a glimpse of them!

Gray Whale Calf Facts:

  • Babies average 15 feet long at birth and are born tail first
  • Calves learn to swim within 30 minutes of birth and must catch their first breath within 15 seconds
  • The mouth of a newborn gray whale makes up about 90% of the length of its head and about 15% of the length of its entire body
  • Newborns are dark gray to black, some with distinctive white markings
  • Calves weigh between 1,100-1,500 pounds
  • They nurse on their mother’s milk for 6-8 months, drinking up to 50 gallons each day! Whale milk is 53% fat compared to 2% in human milk
  • Calves can put on as much as 9 pounds per hour!
  • Calves are born in lagoons which provide safe harbor from killer whales
  • Calves are born without blubber and stay in the lagoons for 2-3 months so they can build up their blubber layer to swim into colder waters during their northern migration

We hope to see you soon and answer any questions you may have about Gray Whale Calves.