Observations of feeding and ventilatory behavior of individual fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus)were made from various vessels during the months of May–September, 1981–1987, in the waters off eastern Long Island, N.Y., U.S.A. Intervals between blows were measured and recorded to the nearest second. Information about behavior was recorded, as were location, depth, and surface temperature at sounding dives. Animals observed feeding at the surface were noted as such, ail others were considered non-surface-feeding animals. Data were compiled by individual, month, year, and analyzed for mean interblow interval during surface activity bouts; mean dive duration; and overall mean blow interval.
Overall mean blow intervals (±SE) of 47.89 ± 0.81 set for surface-feeding (n= 10,411), and 57.92 ±0.97 sec for non-surface-feeding animals (n= 11,024), differed significantly (Mann-Whitney U, P < 0.001). Interblow intervals for surface activity bouts (±SE) of 12.29 ± 0.05 set for surface-feeding (n= 7,894), and 13.58 ± 0.06 set, for non-surface-feeding animals (n = 8,187), also differed significantly (Mann-Whitney U, P < 0.001), as did mean dive duration (159.53 ± 2.16 sec, n= 2,517, for surface-feeding animals; 185.86 ± 2.53 set, n= 2,837, for non-surface-feeding animals). Yearly comparisons of blow intervals between surface-feeding and non-surface-feeding animals during surface activity bouts yielded significant differences for each year except 1981, while comparisons of dive durations yielded significant differences for all years except 1981, 1982, and 1985.