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Keywords:

  • Megaptera novaeangliae;
  • humpback whale;
  • North Pacific;
  • Hawaii;
  • southeastern Alaska;
  • communication;
  • songs

Abstract

Humpback whales sing long, complex songs on their wintering grounds. On 25 August 1979 and 3 September 1981, we made recordings of humpback whale songs in southeastern Alaska, showing that humpback whales also sing on the summer feeding grounds. Both these Alaskan samples are songs in that they are repeating cyclical sound patterns and follow the known structure for humpback whale song. The Alaskan songs contain all the same material sung in the same order as that heard off Mexico and Hawaii in the surrounding wintering seasons. However, song, theme and some phrase durations are abbreviated in the Alaskan songs. The recording of these two songs represents the full sample of song recorded from 155 days over five years of attempting to record humpback whale song in Alaskan waters.