Sunday, January 11, 2015

1-11-15 Breaching Orcas Showing Pregnancy

Sunday, January 11th

I don't know if the Center for Whale Research has confirmed who the mother of J-50 is just yet.
So, for now, my ASSUMPTION is that the mother is Slick J-16.  Here's what I have been doing.

The Year 2014
Two moms - J16  and  J32.
One survived.
One did not survive.

The Year 2011
Two potential new moms - J16  and  J32.
One baby was born (J-48) but died.
No birth ever confirmed on the other.

The most recent events in December 2014 got me to looking at my images of both Slick J-16 and Rhapsody J-32.
How many breaching images did I have of them?
What, if any, information might those images reveal?

The revelation was amazing to me!  Most of the images in this post I adjusted - coloration only - to enhance the outline of the whale.  It's sort of like negative image and the purpose was to be able to see the difference in the body shape.
This is Rhapsody J-32 - three different breaching events:  November 2010, September 2011 and July 2014.  She did not appear pregnant in the image on the left.  She appeared to be very pregnant in the middle image, though no calf was ever seen. (And if she was very pregnant in the middle image, then in the image on the left she was in the first third of her pregnancy.) We know she was pregnant in the image on the right and both she and her baby died in early December.
Here is Slick J-16 - two different breaching events: June 2010, August 2011.
Though she may have been at the very beginning of her pregnancy her body does not show signs of change in the image on the left.  We know she was pregnant in August 2011.  See the wide girth she has. J-48 was born in late 2011 but did not survive.

Now for Slick and 2014: She breached far, far from shore so I had no more zoom factor to work with.  Here are the images and the outline of her body shape.  She looks pregnant on the left image but as she lands she doesn't look as pregnant!
Rhapsody breached a lot.  With so many breaches from Rhapsody it made it a bit easier to find like images for comparison.  With Slick it wasn't as easy.

I then expanded my search to see if there might be others.
I found that I had breaching images of:

Sequim K-12 within six months of Saturna K-43 being born. Polaris J-28 within six months of her giving birth-info from calf necropsy. Ino L-54 within two months of Keta L-117 being born. Tahlequah J-35 within six months of her giving birth to J-47.
And they all have something in common. They were in the latter stages of pregnancy.  It helps if the image is taken from an angle that shows the most - of course. But that doesn't always happen. Tahlequah didn't show much at that angle.

But then I found something very interesting. Spock K-20 looked like she could be pregnant.
I searched more and found two images, almost the same yet taken a year apart.  The image on the right was taken on the same day as the above image.
I don't think Spock would have shown an almost exact same pregnant looking girth if she had been in latter pregnancy stages on these two images taken 12 months apart.  All I can figure is that she is just one very large whale!

Just like with humans, we all look a bit different.  So the only way to attempt to tell, from breaching images, is to have lots. Now if only they would have a lot of wild Chinook salmon to eat they might just do that more often.  Breaching is just one way to possibly tell if a whale is pregnant.

These images I took either from shore, while on Maya's Westside Charters, or while on the Western Prince
I've now expanded my search to to see who else might fit the profile.

From now on I hope to remember to have on my 'analytical hat' when I see a female in the Community breach!


Anonymous said...

Thank You for sharing! I love reading about the whales.

Jeanne said...

You are welcome!

Valerie said...

Jeanne - Thank you for sharing your insight and information! I really enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures of the female whales. Thank you for sharing your passion! Sincerely, Valerie (We met you this past summer on Jim Maya's boat.)

Jeanne said...

You're welcome Valerie, and Thank You!

Michele Wassell said...

Hi Jeanne,

Very interesting and informative post.. Continue to enjoy reading your blog.. Great work! Thank you.. Hope you are doing good.. Happy New Year..

Michele Wassell

Jeanne said...

Thank you Michele and Happy New Year to you!

Traci said...

Nice Jeanne!

Jeanne said...

Thank you Traci!