The annual migrations of baleen whales are a conspicuous but unexplained feature of their behavioral repertoire. Some hypotheses offered to explain whale migration focus on direct benefits to the calf (thermoregulation, calm water) and some do not (resource tracking, and the “evolutionary holdover” hypothesis). Here, we suggest that a major selective advantage to migrating pregnant female baleen whales is a reduced risk of killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation on their newborn calves in low-latitude waters. Killer whale abundance in high latitudes is substantially greater than that in lower latitudes, and most killer whales do not appear to migrate with baleen whales. We suggest that the distribution of killer whales is determined more by their primary marine mammal prey, pinnipeds, and that following the baleen whale migrations would remove them from their pinniped prey. There are problems with all current hypotheses, most of which stem from a lack of directed research. We explore variation in migratory habits between species, populations, and individuals that may provide a “natural laboratory” for discriminating among the competing hypotheses.